Wed January 24 2018
by Charlie Fripp, ESPN Africa
ESL, the oldest and largest esports organisation in the world, recently announced that social media powerhouse Facebook will be the exclusive broadcasting platform for CS:GO Pro League and the ESL One circuit. Kwese is in partnership with ESL. Below is a press release from ESL regarding the announcement.
We are happy to announce that Facebook will be our main broadcast partner for the highest level of esports competition - the CS:GO Pro League and the ESL One circuit, with full English and Portuguese coverage, which will be filling your screens exclusively on the Facebook platform and also available on embedded streams on the respective event websites.
Over the last two years, Facebook has been consistently growing its capabilities as a video platform as well as its presence in esports and gaming. Having been a part of this journey with them, we’re excited to now be at a stage where we can take the next step towards realizing our shared ambition to grow the overall esports audience and to bring our sports to an even broader group of viewers than ever before.
While in the past we have mainly shared stories and clips on the platform next to select streams, we are looking forward to providing a much more advanced viewing experience which also connects to the existing Facebook pages of teams, players and talents.
One of the key components that brought this project to fruition was the recent introduction of Facebook Watch. With it, Facebook has not only introduced a structured platform for video distribution, but also implemented technological upgrades that esports audiences have grown to expect, such as streaming in 1080p/60fps and VR. Facebook will also make video content easily accessible for Facebook’s 2 billion monthly active users, allowing much easier promotion of esports content to the millions of esports fans on the platform.
Facebook has also recently started rolling out features that make watching a collaborative experience, such as their “viewing with friends” features. Now, when tuning into shows on Facebook, you can switch between general chat and private chats with groups of friends who are currently also watching the broadcast. You can also easily invite your friends that aren’t watching yet into your viewing group via Messenger. With many more product innovations on the roadmap for the future, we’re looking forward to Facebook further developing the viewing experience on the platform in 2018.
“For years ESL has used Facebook to nurture its global community while broadening the audience for esports competition to millions of fans worldwide,” said Leo Olebe, Global Director, Facebook Games Partnerships. “Having two of ESL’s most adored properties for CS:GO and Dota 2 streaming exclusively on Facebook is the next step in our efforts to delight the passionate esports community on Facebook. The ability to now watch esports in 1080p and in VR underscores our commitment to adding more ways for fans to watch and connect with each other around the esports content they love most.”
Official tournament broadcasts will air in both English and Portuguese, with a variety of other language options available. Starting with Dota 2 at ESL One Genting 2018 from January 23-28 and CS:GO Pro League Season 7 on February 13th, non-stop content is coming your way. On top of tournament live streams, we’re excited to utilize Facebook Watch to produce additional broadcasts, such as a weekly show for Dota 2.
Although Facebook users will have the easiest time finding and following the action within the platform, it is not required to have a Facebook account to watch Pro League or ESL One. Embedded streams will continue to shown on the respective product pages.