Livestreaming platform Twitch is a serious fan of esports and takes its esports fans seriously, too. After renewing its partnership with DreamHack in March for the ninth year in a row, it’s now announced an exclusive broadcasting partnership with professional esports team Optic Gaming.
While some might associate esports with multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games like League of Legends and Heroes of the Storm, Optic primarily plays first-person and third-person shooters. Founded in 2006, it’s made up of several smaller teams that specialize in playing more common esports games such as Call of Duty and Counter-Strike Global Offensive (CS:GO), as well as competitive Halo and Gears of War.
Optic previously won Esports Team of the Year at The Game Awards in 2015, an award ceremony with advisers from industry fixtures such as Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Rockstar Games, and others. Liquidpedia places the team’s earnings so far at $930,200, and notes that its Call of Duty team has especially won a loyal fanbase. A notable member of the COD team is Ian “Crimsix” Porter who, according to the Optic Gaming website, is considered to be the winningest player in COD history. Its CS:GO team is also fairly highly ranked, with GosuGamers placing it at 5th in the U.S. and 15th in the world with a 58 percent all-time win rate.
“First and third-person shooters are what jump-started competitive online gaming as a phenomenon and are a catalyst in making esports what it is today,” said John Howell, vice president of global partnerships at Twitch, in a press release.
With a new partnership with Optic, its renewed partnership with Team Liquid, and more than 10 million active daily users, Twitch is trying to corner the game-streaming market. And for good reason: Gaming-related videos are poised to make $4.6 billion in 2017, according to industry analyst SuperData. And, according to an LEK Consulting survey, esports have been chipping away at traditional sports’ audience in recent years, with 40 percent of young Americans saying they prefer it, and TV viewership dropping year-over-year.
Correction, 3:30 PM: The $930,200 figure was the earnings of the Optic CS:GO team, not the earnings of the entire Optic team. GamesBeat regrets the error.