The Facebook and ESL streaming deal came into fruition at the start of this year. It was a partnership which many hoped would bring a new competitor to video game streaming. Amazon-owned Twitch has a huge monopoly in this segment right now. Over the past few years, we have seen multiple companies try to disrupt the market unsuccessfully. Facebook’s attempt to connect with the younger audience saw the company strike this deal with ESL.
It comes after multiple ESL and Betway Esports collaboration rumours.
As we head towards the end of the current year, there are signs of problems between the two companies. The Facebook Watch platform has seen multiple problems both in terms of stream quality and the lack of promotion. The stream averages just a fraction of the normal Twitch viewers for ESL.
With the ESL Pro League Season 8 coming to an end, it was the final stream for the two companies for 2018. It has seen very poor viewership and a general lack of interest from the esports population.
Just for reference, Slasher also lists the viewership numbers for the Eleague Boston Major and the ESL Pro League Season 8.
Unkept Promises of a better service
There were numerous complaints about Facebook watch at its launch. Many of the problems no longer exist, however, Facebook’s promise of a dramatic improvement did not materialise. The Social Media organisation promised numerous changes to their platform including better stream quality and sound and buffering issues.
Facebook does little more to advertise these matches other than posting on Facebook. The low viewership numbers have definitely been a sore point as ESL continues to search for new sponsors and investments. With the new year, we might see ESL trying to refocus their future on providing the best experience for fans.
What’s next for 2019?
The original agreement was for a duration of two years. However, it only covers the ESL Pro league and ESL One events. With the conclusion of the ESL One events so far in 2018, Dota 2 events should not see a Facebook stream in the new year. However, Counter-Strike fans will still remain disappointed as ESL Pro league will return for the upcoming year.
Despite the extra influx of money, ESL and Valve are not happy with the viewership numbers. If the numbers continue to disappoint, according to Slasher, it will not be a huge surprise to see the deal break apart prematurely.