Twitch Scores Three-Year ESL and DreamHack Streaming Deal


by in Entertainment | Apr, 29th 2020

Amazon scored a major coup this week by acquiring a global exclusive deal on streaming the ESL and DreamHack events through Twitch. This deal will last for three years, per the agreement with Modern Times Group’s gaming companies (ESL and DreamHack). But what makes this interesting to us is that DreamHack Anaheim was provided by Juked.GG. Perhaps it did not do well enough for them? Or maybe that Scrooge McDuckian money of Jeff Bezos was too much to ignore. No matter the reason, if you want ESL and DreamHack, you know where to go.

That’s Right, Twitch

Twitch will work with both ESL and DreamHack to make sure it is a centralized hub for all of their awesome esports action. They will coordinate their broadcasting and maximize the sponsorship of two of the biggest esports competitions in the world. What does Twitch gain through this deal?

Twitch will have access to the whole ESL Pro Tour, which has CS:GO, StarCraft II, and Warcraft III, among others. There’s also ESL One, the Intel Extreme Masters, DreamHack Masters, the DreamHack Open, and the ESL National Championships. Perhaps they’ll also simply stream all of the content at the DreamHack events (Austin, Atlanta, Anaheim, everywhere else there’s an “A” in the name. . .).

The streaming rights are non-exclusive. Twitch gains broader exclusivity for English-language rights between 2021 and 2022. There will be exceptions of course, where television broadcast partners also have rights on their digital platforms, but it seems like if you want to watch, you’ll be going to Twitch.

“ESL and Twitch have been key players in the history of esports as we know it,” said Benjamin Vallat, senior vice president of alliances and corporate development at Twitch. “The continuation of our partnership will strengthen not only the content offerings for fans, but also the greater esports community that ESL, DreamHack, and Twitch have cultivated over the years.”

We didn’t expect to suddenly hear a deal with Mixer or anything, but we’re still kind of surprised by this. It came out of nowhere. It’s just another stranglehold Twitch has on esports/streaming in general. If we can be honest, we think competition is good, but it doesn’t seem like any of the other streaming services (Caffeine, Mixer, YouTube) hold a candle to Twitch. But it’s not for a lack of trying.

“Live streaming esports has belonged to Twitch in recent years,” said Frank Uddo, ESL’s senior vice president for global media. “As we continue to host some of the world’s largest esports tournaments, it feels only natural to work even closer with Twitch to provide the best gaming experience for fans, as well as safeguard the future of the esports industry.”

There’s the key. “Live streaming esports has belonged to Twitch” is the takeaway. Would we love to see other streaming services get that kind of chance? Of course. But it would be up to the esports themselves to take a chance on another service. We’ve seen that on YouTube with the Call of Duty League and SMITE/Paladins showed up on Mixer for a season.

Roger Lodewick, DreamHack’s co-chief executive, also had something to say about this partnership. “This partnership is a milestone for DreamHack, both as a company and community. Our cooperation with Twitch dates back to 2009 when it was still Justin.tv. This new collective media partnership is re-confirming our long-standing collaboration and highlights the importance and relevance Twitch has to our community, as well as the value the ESL-DreamHack esports content brings to the global Twitch audience.”

Would we love to see it on YouTube, Facebook Gaming, or maybe Caffeine? Sure we would. But right now, Twitch just has too much money and too great of a stranglehold on the business. They got in on the ground floor and now when you think esports, you think Twitch. Regardless, we’re glad to know exactly where we can find all of this action.

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