FACEBOOK EXPANDS EVEN FURTHER INTO ESPORTS
TNL Take: In June of 2016, I wrote in The Next Level 010 about "The War On Twitch" that the biggest threat to the live streaming service was Facebook's entrance with their new partnership to offer 1-click streaming of all Blizzard's PC games directly to Zuck's massive platform:
Facebook then obtained the exclusive rights to Blizzard's "Heroes Of The Dorm", previously held by ESPN, and here's what else they've added to their eSports content:
JANUARY: EUROPE'S POWERHOUSE G2 ESPORTS
Top European team G2 eSports - who is at 4:30PM on Sunday currently tied with the world's best League of Legends team at the League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational [Edit: They lost] - announced they will start streaming non-exclusively on Facebook beginning in February.
G2 content will include gameplay broadcasts across multiple titles, behind-the-scenes footage from events and VOD content.
APRIL: 76ER'S OWNED TEAM DIGNITAS
Philadelphia 76ers owned Team Dignitas signed a partnership to live stream on Facebook - although non-exclusive as well and they will continue to also stream on Twitch.
Content will include team practices, fan interaction and a peek into their daily lives.
Team Dignitas fields 6 teams and currently has about ~800,000 total Fans and Followers on Facebook.
MAY: ESL EVENTS AND EXCLUSIVE CONTENT
This is the biggest deal to date since the initial Blizzard announcement last year.
ESL announced on Friday a massive streaming partnership with Facebook that includes:
- 5,500 total hours of content in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and German
- 1,500 of which will be Exclusive to Facebook
- Content includes: Counter-Strike competitions from ESEA (ESL’s subscription-based platform for amateur, semi-pro, and pro's), an exclusive 30min Counter-Strike show as well as their events like ESL One and Intel Extreme Masters
Now if ESL's deal sounds kind of familiar...it is.
That also shouldn't be a surprise as Dreamhack parent company - MTG (Media Times Group) - also owns a 74% stake in ESL.
As Facebook is just entering these waters, there are numerous ways they could eventually take the lead:
/01 SCALE: Facebook should hit 2 Billion users by the end of Q2 this year. Over half of those users are daily. Which also leads to...
/02 MOBILE: 85% of Facebook's revenues comes from Mobile. As the rest of the world comes online, this is how they're going to access content - not via a PC or console. Facebook stopped reporting Mobile only user numbers but I'd guess it's ~1/3 of their total users.
/03 MONETIZATION: Ads, Donations, Subscriptions, Virtual Currency, Sponsorships, Influencer Campaigns - the list goes on
/04 VR: As VR eventually gathers more audience and others are trying to build VR platforms on top of Twitch or create separate ones, Facebook already has the hardware end with Oculus. From both playing and viewing, the experience potential is endless.
This battle is far from over and will be interesting to see how other platforms react in addition to the massive Chinese market. Grab the popcorn.