In their ever-continuing attempts to encroach on all areas of your life, Facebook is looking for a piece of that esports streaming pie. While Twitch is still the dominant gaming service worldwide, Facebook has been getting into livestreaming here and there, be it casual family-friendly content, or Blizzard games. The social media mogul just announced a new deal with MLB and ESL to become more active in the esports streaming world.
The deal includes bringing more than 5,500 hours of esports content from ESL to Facebook, with an addition of 1,500 hours of original programming. ESL already has streaming deals with other services, like Twitter and Twitch, so in no way does this grant Facebook any exclusivity. Moreso, there’s a better possibility of catching some casual viewers, or people who normally don’t watch esports already.
“With over 1.94 billion monthly active users on Facebook, this is a huge step toward expanding the reach of esports among mainstream audiences,” Johannes Schiefer, Vice President of Social Media and Editorial at ESL, said in a statement. “Last year, ESL content generated over 2 billion impressions and reached over 200 million users on Facebook globally.”
While the current rage in ESL is mostly Counter Strike: GO, there’s no reason for fighting games to not continue rising in relevance, particularly on a platform with such a wide audience as Facebook. The 2016 global esports revenue reached $493 million, and is projected to increase by more than 40 percent this year.