Hulu, ESL Ink Deal For Premium Esports Content, Including Four New Series

Written By Dustin Gouker on October 9, 2017 - Last Updated on January 22, 2018

[toc]The ESL announced on Monday that it partnered with Hulu to bring “premium esports content” to the streaming video on-demand service.

Hulu and the ESL

The deal includes four new esports series from the ESL that will be provided to Hulu. It’s also Hulu’s first foray into the esports space.

“The partnership with Hulu marks ESL’s first original series on an on-demand streaming service, and will showcase the diverse nature of esports through high quality storytelling,” said Nik Adams, Senior Vice President of Global Media Rights and Distribution for ESL.

“Esports appeals to a younger, more digitally savvy audience so Hulu is a perfect platform to build out our original content and expose the world of esports to new audiences.”

All the new series will premiere exclusively on Hulu later this fall.

More on the new ESL series

Here is how ESL described the new series it is providing for Hulu:

Player V. Player

A gamified debate show with casters and esports influencers facing off over the hottest topics in esports. Panelists accrue points while debating both newsy and big picture topics for ultimate bragging rights, with a final challenge over a classic video game.

The result is an urgent, passionate conversation amongst signature esports personalities, connecting communities while also pitting them against one another.


A weekly docu-series following The Immortals, a top CS:GO team, as they rebuild their roster leading up to IEM Oakland, one of the premier esports events in North America that takes place on Nov. 18-19 at Oracle Arena. With the tournament just weeks away, and currently three players short of a full team, The Immortals must find new talent and quickly build a cohesive team.

Bootcamp will follow The Immortals through the extensive process of player evaluation, testing and trials until they finally find the perfect players and then race to get ready for IEM Oakland. The series will also give unprecedented access to the inner workings of a professional esports team, with scrimmages and practice sessions at the team house as they formulate a new strategy and build team chemistry.

Defining Moments

Dive deep into the most impactful moments in esports history with passionate casters and analysts explaining what made these moments so monumental. Defining Moments will cover many of the top games and fan the flames of ongoing debates about these plays.

Each episode is centered on a specific theme for the week, whether trick-shots and insane reflex skills, controversial moves and their impact on gaming history, or long-lasting rivalries and how they came to be. The series will feature in-depth interviews with game designers, teammates, fans, rivals, even sports scientists assessing reaction speed – anyone who can add to the story of defining moments in esports.

ESL Replay

A fast-paced, condensed, documentary-style recap of the most memorable moments from four of the biggest multi-day esports tournaments in the world, including in-depth analyses and behind-the-scenes footage not part of the tournament live stream.

A never-before-seen view of the tournament that will entertain those who watched the full tournament and those who missed the action and want to see what they missed. Each episode of Replay will be edited and aired within a week of the live event.

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Hulu’s angle

Much like the world of traditional sports, esports revolves around live action. Coverage of matches and tournaments — and analysis before and after those events — is the focus of most content and streaming providers.

But there is a bit of a vacuum when it comes to curated or produced content outside of those events. Yes, live streams, podcasts, etc. abound, but the new ESL series should represent an upgrade over much of that.

“Esports is one of the fastest growing areas of media and entertainment, and, through this first-of-its-kind deal with ESL, we can now bring the popular world of esports to Hulu,” said Lisa Holme, Vice President of Content Acquisition for Hulu.  “We know our viewers, especially those watching Hulu on consoles, are hungry for this type of content – so we’re excited to offer it on Hulu for the first time.”

The model being given to Hulu is not unlike what we have seen work well in the traditional sports media. Player v. player is much like the debate shows you see on ESPN and beyond. Behind-the-scenes reality shows like Bootcamp have done well in the sports space.

VOD streaming services are constantly looking for ways to differentiate themselves, and dedicating some bandwidth to esports would seem to be a smart move.

Image credit: Casimiro PT /

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Dustin Gouker

Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner. You can also find his work at Legal Sports Report.

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