FACEBOOK AND BLIZZARD'S EXCLUSIVE BROADCAST PARTNERSHIP
TNL Take: Just 3 years ago if you wanted to watch any eSports content, you basically went to Twitch.
2016 saw the beginning of eSports Media evolution and fragmentation of the market:
Back in June 2016 in The Next Level 010, I analyzed "The War On Twitch" and felt that Facebook was the biggest threat to Twitch once the Blizzard partnership and 1-Click Overwatch streaming was announced.
Now Facebook is taking the relationship even further.
Last week, Facebook and Blizzard announced an Exclusive Broadcast deal for "Heroes of the Dorm" on Facebook Live where it had previously been shown on ESPN for the past 2 years.
Outside of no TV coverage in 2017, the only major difference is the addition of a Heroes of the Dorm Bracket Challenge and the Heroes of the Dorm Pick ‘em Challenge in which choosing correctly will give the grand prize winner $10,000.
Halfway through the tournament, viewers get to play the Pick ‘em Challenge, where they pick one school to win the Championship and get in-game items (Stimpacks) as rewards for participating.
A few points on that:
- Facebook and Blizzard's relationship is not new and goes back to the Overwatch streaming announcement last June
- Facebook Live has been growing as a streaming platform and this past weekend, EA Sports Madden Bowl actually had more viewers on FB Live than Twitch
- To be perfectly honest, "Heroes of the Dorm" wasn't exactly a rating bonanza for ESPN with no growth between 2015 and 2016 and almost the worst viewed eSports program in 2016:
- Last, I don't want TNL to turn into TMZ but I'll leave this right here.
Without EA Madden NFL (on NFL Network) or Heroes of the Dorm, it'll be interesting to see where ESPN plants their eSports stake in 2017.
Just make EVO 2017 a lot bigger.