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Turner Sports has partnered with Twitch as the official third-party platform for its Eleague esports events. Starting with the Eleague Major: Boston, a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament that runs until January 28, Twitch will exclusively livestream all esports events as part of a multiyear deal.
Eleague started hosting only CS: GO competitions, but has since expanded to other games such as Blizzard’s Overwatch, Capcom’s Street Fighter V, and Psyonix’s Rocket League. However, CS: GO remains its biggest title, and the Eleague Major 2017 Grand Final set a viewing record on Twitch by drawing more than a million concurrent viewers.
“The strong performance of our live event coverage on Twitch – including record-setting concurrent streams during last year’s inaugural Eleague Major – speaks to why we couldn’t be more thrilled to continue this relationship,” said Turner Sports’s executive vice president and chief content officer Craig Barry in a statement.
The announcement follows a deal between the Electronic Sports League (ESL) and Facebook, which means that the social media site will exclusively livestream the ESL One CS: GO and Dota 2 tournaments. These partnerships show a demand for esports content as platforms jockey to draw audiences with unique content. It also echoes the traditional media model, where TV channels sign deals with sports leagues.
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The esports market could hit $2.5 billion by 2020, and there’s a strong appetite for watching tournaments. Blizzard’s new Overwatch League drew 425,000 concurrent viewers to its first three matches, and Valve’s Dota 2 tournament The International — the largest tournament in the industry — reached a high of 5 million concurrent viewers.
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