Facebook Signs Deals With ESL and MLB in Ongoing Streaming Video Push

Friday May 19, 2017 6:12 AM PDT by Mitchel Broussard

After its first sports-related streams went live early last year, focusing on soccer and hockey, Facebook this week has made inroads into two new categories that will bring fans of eSports and baseball both live and on-demand content (via The Wall Street Journal).

Facebook already had deals with five eSports teams who published live and on-demand videos to the platform, but this week the company made a bigger deal with ESL, originally known as the Electronic Sports League, an organizer of eSports competitions. For those unfamiliar, eSports coverage follows players throughout a variety of competitive-focused video games, most popularly including titles like StarCraft II, Counter-Strike, League of Legends, and Overwatch, among others.


In a blog post announcing the deal, ESL confirmed that fans will be able to watch all IEM and ESL One events in up to six different languages, and a few national championship and online leagues, on ESL Facebook pages. The partnership is also bringing an exclusive new weekly show to Facebook that will allow viewers to comment and interact with the video stream while "highlighting up and coming players."

In total there will be 30 hours of weekly ESEA Rank S streams, a weekly half hour show hosted by Mark “Boq” Wilson, and more coming down the line. The broadcasts will start in June with the Counter-Strike-focused Rank S matches, and eventually grow to include videos of player interviews, competition commentary, and more all streamed on Facebook.

Currently, the most popular destinations for ESL-backed matches are Twitch and YouTube. Notably, the deal with Facebook is said to not interfere with ESL posting and streaming on other platforms simultaneously. Still, Facebook is said to be looking to build an "ecosystem" of game streams that convince gamers to tune into the social network over its live streaming rivals.

Facebook Inc. is paying professional videogame teams and others in the esports industry to post videos on the social network, part of a shift in strategy to deliver more-premium programming to the company’s nearly two billion monthly users.

Under the deals signed with Facebook, esports partners must produce a minimum number of hours of video for the social network, and in most cases the partners are allowed to simultaneously publish to rival platforms such as Amazon.com Inc.’s Twitch. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

In addition, Facebook and Major League Baseball have announced a deal of their own that will bring 20 live-streamed Friday night MLB games to Facebook during the 2017 season, located on MLB's Facebook page. The games will be free for any United States-based Facebook user, and the first game will broadcast tonight, May 19, with the Colorado Rockies and Cincinnati Reds facing off.

Facebook has long been pushing into video content, from setting the groundwork by testing autoplay videos with sound in its mobile app, to most recently gearing up to debut original TV shows directly within the social network. Over time, Facebook's move to more "premium" video content is said to gradually gain precedence over live and recorded video from users.

People scrolling through Facebook’s news feed are more likely to watch polished videos with audio turned on, making them potentially lucrative vehicles for ads, analysts say. Such content increasingly will appear in news feeds over off-the-cuff live videos from users, as Facebook wants to be seen as a hub for long-form video.

Streaming and on-demand video is becoming an area of interest for other social networks besides Facebook, with Snapchat recently being rumored to launch a collection of 3-5 minute TV shows within its mobile app. Twitter has been the home of sports, news, and entertainment video streams for a while now, and most recently revealed plans to launch a full, always-on network of news shows in partnership with Bloomberg.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
37 months ago
Eh. I'll probably stick with Twitch.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Considering Delaying iPhone 12 Launch 'by Months'

Wednesday March 25, 2020 12:51 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple is preparing to delay the launch of the 2020 iPhones expected to be equipped with 5G technology, according to sources with knowledge of Apple's plans that spoke to Japanese news site Nikkei. Apple has reportedly held internal discussions about the possibility of delaying the launch "by months" over fears of how well iPhones would sell in the current situation, and supply chain sources...

Apple Helps Source Over 10 Million N95 Masks for Healthcare Providers in the U.S.

Wednesday March 25, 2020 10:25 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple over the weekend announced plans to donate millions of N95 masks to hospitals in the United States and Europe, and according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple has been able to source more than 10 million N95 masks in the U.S. and millions more in Europe. Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Saturday that Apple was aiming to donate supplies to healthcare providers fighting COVID-19, and clarified...

Hands-On With the New 2020 12.9-Inch iPad Pro

Wednesday March 25, 2020 2:10 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple last week announced new 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, and as of today, the new iPads are arriving to customers. We picked up one of the new 12.9-inch models and checked it out to see just what's new and whether it's worth buying. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. When it comes to design, the new iPad Pro models are identical to the 2018 iPad Pro models, but ...

Kuo: Apple to Launch Several Macs With Arm-Based Processors in 2021, USB4 Support Coming to Macs in 2022

Thursday March 26, 2020 8:19 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple plans to launch several Mac notebooks and desktop computers with its own custom designed Arm-based processors in 2021, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. Kuo believes that Arm-based processors will significantly enhance the competitive advantage of the Mac lineup, allow Apple to refresh its Mac models without relying on Intel's processor roadmap,...

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.4 With New Mail Toolbar, iCloud Folder Sharing, Trackpad Support for iPad and More

Tuesday March 24, 2020 9:56 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 13.4, the latest major updates to the iOS 13 operating system that was released in September. iOS and iPadOS 13.4 come two months after the release of iOS and iPadOS 13.3.1 with Screen Time Communication Limits. The iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 13.4 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.4 With Screen Time Communication Limits and Real-Time Apple Music Lyrics

Tuesday March 24, 2020 10:21 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released macOS Catalina 10.15.4, the fourth update to the macOS Catalina operating system that was released in October. macOS Catalina 10.15.4 comes a couple of months after the release of macOS Catalina 10.15.3. macOS Catalina 10.15.4 can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for free using the Update feature in the System Preferences app. The macOS Catalina 10.15.4 update...

Apple Says MacBook Air With Retina Display Can Exhibit Anti-Reflective Coating Issues, Unclear if Eligible for Free Repairs [Updated]

Thursday March 26, 2020 8:16 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple this week acknowledged that MacBook Air models with Retina displays can exhibit anti-reflective coating issues, as indicated in a memo shared with Apple Authorized Service Providers and obtained by MacRumors. "Retina displays on some MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro computers can exhibit anti-reflective (AR) coating issues," the memo states. Apple's internal service documentation ...

Hands-On With Apple's New Smart Keyboard Folio for the 2020 iPad Pro Models

Tuesday March 24, 2020 12:38 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple last week introduced new 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, which are set to arrive in the hands of customers starting this week. Apple introduced a nifty new Magic Keyboard with trackpad alongside the new iPad Pro models that's coming in May, but it also debuted a new Smart Keyboard Folio, which is available now. We picked up the Smart Keyboard Folio for the designed for the 2020 iPad...

Hands-On With the New $999 MacBook Air

Thursday March 26, 2020 1:45 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Alongside new iPad Pros last week, Apple also refreshed the MacBook Air, adding more storage, faster 10th-generation processors, and an updated keyboard. We picked up one of the new machines to take a look at some of the upgrades added in the 2020 update. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design wise, there are no real external changes to the MacBook Air's body,...

Mobile Networks in Multiple Countries Display 'Stay Home' Message When Users Connect to Cellular Instead of WiFi

Tuesday March 24, 2020 3:46 pm PDT by Juli Clover
iPhone users in several countries who disconnect from WiFi on their devices will see a "Stay Home" message at the top of the Control Center where cellular network information is displayed. Image via Matt Navarra According to reports on Twitter, the status bar messages are showing up in countries that include Germany, Belgium, United Arab Emirates, Peru, Turkey, India, Luxembourg, Romania,...