Special to NYSportsJournalism.com
March 2, 2017: Twitter has had live-streaming deals with the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL.
Now comes a live-streaming deal that takes Twitter into the burgeoning world of eSports.
Twitter said it has partnered with leading eSports companies ESL and DreamHack to live-stream events and original content in 2017, encompassing some 1,500 hours of content.
Among the more than 15 currently planned events are the ESL One, Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) and DreamHack events, which will be live streamed globally on Twitter and connected devices.
The Intel Extreme Masters Katowice, Poland (March 4) will be the first tournament to be live streamed on Twitter through the deal.
ESL said it would produce live original content for Twitter, including a weekly 30-minute show featuring highlights and behind-the-scenes footage.
"eSports is growing at a rapid pace and we see this collaboration as a way to tap into the engaged audience of gamers that are already using Twitter as a primary source of content," Anthony Noto, COO for Twitter, said in a statement. "By partnering with the leading eSports companies like ESL and DreamHack, we look forward to bringing the best of eSports live video and conversation together on Twitter."
ESL oversees branded international and national leagues and tournaments such as the Intel Extreme Masters, ESL One and ESL National Championship, as well as grassroots amateur cups, leagues and matchmaking systems.
The number of eSports participants globally will reach 58.4 million this year, up from 49.8 million in 2016; the global eSports audience will reach 385 million in 2017, up from about 256 million this past year; and the eSports economy predicted to grow to $696 million in 2017 for year-on-year increase of 41.3%.
Longer-term, eSports revenues will near $1.5 billion by 2020, according to the just released 2017 Global Esports Market Report from research and consulting firm NewZoo, San Francisco.
With a growing number of brands attaching themselves to eSports leagues, players and competitions, sponsorship will reach $266.3 million worldwide in 2017 and advertising will top $155 million, according to NewZoo.
"Sponsorship is the largest revenue stream and will grow to $655 million by 2020. New brands, especially non-endemic brands, entering eSports will drive the growth in sponsorship revenues in the coming years. Advertising generates the second most revenues and will grow to $224 million by 2020," per the 2017 Global Esports Market Report.
The playing field that already includes such companies as Coca-Cola, Taco Bell, Buffalo Wild Wings, Slim Jim, Mountain Dew, Bud Light, Domino’s Pizza, Snickers, Ford, Hyundai, Audi, Gillette, Mobile, Axe and Turtle Wax.
NewZoo sees "even more major non-endemic brands (signing) big sponsorship deals with teams, leagues, and events."
"eSports is growing at a rapid pace and we see this as a way to tap into the engaged audience of gamers already using Twitter as a primary source of content."
According to Johannes Schiefer, vp-social media & editorial for ESL, "eSports fans are endemic to digital and this partnership with Twitter expands ESL's reach for all of our major tournaments for fans around the globe.
"Intel Extreme Masters Katowice is our most anticipated live event, and we are excited to bring premier content from this tournament and beyond to more fans in a premium experience," said Schiefer.
DreamHack, a division of international digital entertainment group MTG, creates computer festivals worldwide. DreamHack's core, and origin is the LAN party, with the two major festivals in Sweden, DreamHack Summer in June and DreamHack Winter (November). DreamHack also arranges festivals, events and competitions in several locations in Europe and North America.
"Twitter is a very strong esports platform, where many of our fans and followers already engage with DreamHack events," Marcus Lindmark, CEO & president for DreamHack, said a statement. "This will be a shortcut for fans, as they can both watch and engage on the platform at the same time."
DreamHack’s upcoming schedule includes events include Austin (April 28-30), France (May 6-8), Sweden ((June 17-29), Spain (July 13-16) and Atlanta (July 21-23).
Report: eSports To Impact 1.8B People, Accelerate Revenue To $1.5B By 2020
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