Twitter Throws Down Gauntlet With Twitch, Now Has Live Streams From ESL, DreamHack

Written By Joss Wood | Last Updated
[toc]The announcement of a deal between Twitter, Intel Extreme Masters, DreamHack and ESL signals Twitter’s commitment to compete with Twitch for the esports livestream audience.

The basics of the Twitter esports deal

The deal went into action on Saturday, March 4, with content available on both web and mobile devices through the Twitter app. The broadcast content will include live streams of over 15 esports events and produce over 1,500 hours of programming. That includes a weekly half hour show from ESL that will be exclusive to Twitter. The first broadcast event was the Intel Extreme Masters from Katowice, Poland, where Astralis picked up the champions’ trophy in the main CS:GO event. The DreamHack events that will be streamed in 2017 include the:
  • DreamHack Masters
  • DreamHack ASTRO Open
  • DreamLeague
  • DreamHack Hearthstone Grand Prix
  • Plus the DreamHack Smash Championships at nine international venues.
Twitter COO Anthony Noto explained Twitter’s interest in esports:
“Esports is growing at a rapid pace and we see this collaboration as a way to tap into the engaged audience of gamers that are already using Twitter as a primary source of content. By partnering with the leading esports companies like ESL and DreamHack, we look forward to bringing the best of esports live video and conversation together on Twitter.”

Twitter got into live streams in July 2016

Twitter’s first foray into live streaming was introduced with the broadcast of tennis action from the 2016 Wimbledon tennis championships. It also streamed some NFL games this past season. The first esports live stream followed in July with two days of streaming the ELeague’s CS:GO semi-finals and championship. In December, Twitter launched the facility for selected partners to offer 360-degree live streaming through the Periscope technology. Twitter acquired that platform in early 2015 for an undisclosed price. It’s clear that Twitter sees Twitch as a competitor in the broader social media space. Esports formed the basis for Twitch’s rapid growth, and Twitter is taking steps to catch up quickly. The huge user base that Twitter can provide may or may not translate into an expanded esports audience. But what Twitter can definitely offer is the potential for greater audience engagement. Marcus Lindmark, CEO & President at DreamHack said:
“Twitter is a very strong esports platform, where many of our fans and followers already engage with DreamHack events. This will be a shortcut for fans, as they can both watch and engage on the platform at the same time.”

Esports enthusiasts are now spoiled for choice

Esports live streams are now available from social giants Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, YouTube and Amazon through its Fire TV. There’s a case that the rapid expansion of live-stream portals provides too much choice. Ultimately the market could coalesce into the social media sites that win the biggest audience. However, the demographics of the esports audience may confound that expectation. This is an audience accustomed to multiple information sources and rapid switching to and from its preferred channels.