Nick J. April 29, 2020
In a departure from its typical stance on multi-year deals, streaming platform Twitch has entered into a three-year partnership with ESL and sister company DreamHack to become the sole provider of the companies' English-language esports broadcasts. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed at the time of the announcement.
This marks the second time ESL has sold the english streaming rights to its events since 2018, first doing so in a similar deal with Facebook.
At the time, Facebook had signed a three-year deal to bradcast ESL's tournament events and the ESL Pro League, a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competition culminating in an international finals.
That deal was marred by the poor technical quality of the Facebook Gaming streaming platform's streams, leading fans to complain publically and to ESL backing out of the agreement and allowing the event to return to other platforms, including Twitch, at the end of 2018.
Previously, ESL had given YouTube Gaming a trial run for exclusive broadcast rights as well.
This marks a departure for Twitch, whose position in the esports space has typically been to pursue one to two-year deals with tournament organziaers and other live content producers.
While Twitch's market share is hardly slipping, the loss of several high-profile streamers, including Michael "shroud" Grzesiek and Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, left large holes in Twitch's live offerings.
ESL's Senior Vice President Benjamin Vallat reinforced ESL's stated goal of improving its live event content, explaining that Twitch is the best partner for it.
"ESL and Twitch have been key players in the history of esports as we know it. [The deal] will strengthen not only the content offerings for fans, but also the greater esports community that ESL, Dreamhack, and Twitch have cultivated over the years," Vallat said.
2020 will see twitch continue to broadcast ESL events without exclusivity before the clasue goes into effect for ESL Pro Tour and Pro League broadcasts in 2021 through 2022. ESL's Pro Tour is new to 2020, bring all of ESL and DreamHack's products into a cohesive meta tournament.