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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.
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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