Twitter has signed a deal with Turner Broadcasting and WME/IMG's ELeague to live stream the semi-finals and championship of the first season of their Counter Strike: Global Offensive tournament, the companies announced on 28 July. To be held this weekend at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, the tournament will be the social media giant's first eSports event live streamed on its platform.
"Twitter is the native social platform for eSports and this partnership provides our passionate fans with an additional opportunity to consume ELeague content as we reach the pinnacle of our first season," Christina Alejandre, general manager of ELeague and vice president of eSports, Turner Sports, said in a statement. "We're excited for our first ELeague championship and look forward to offering these content experiences to our high-engaged fan base."
ELeague's official Twitter account will also feature real-time highlights, scores, updates and even GIFs and memes. Twitter's live video Periscope will broadcast behind-the-scene footage as well.
Increasingly recognized as a serious occupation and a promising sector, eSports has exploded into a multi-billion dollar industry that is rapidly growing in popularity and viewership. According to market research firm Newzoo, the global eSports market is estimated to reach $463m in 2016 with a year-on-year growth of 43%. The firm also estimates that more than a billion people will be aware of the competitive gaming industry by the end of the year.
"Esports fans go to Twitter to see and talk about what is happening now in competitive gaming," said Twitter's chief financial officer Anthony Noto. "Gamers are one of the largest and most engaged audiences on Twitter, and we are thrilled to partner with Turner and WME I IMG to bring them the live content from ElLeague and Twitter commentary they are already looking for, all on one screen."
The latest partnership follows a series of deals over the past few weeks to beef up Twitter's live sports content and news on its platform.
Last week, the social media network teamed up with MLB Advanced Media to stream live weekly Major League Baseball and National Hockey League games. The company also recently signed deals with Sky Sports to broadcast Premier League football match goals and highlights during the 2016/17 season, Pac-12 Networks for college sports and the NFL for Thursday Night Football.
Twitter has previously teamed up with Bloomberg Media, CBS News and the National Basketball Association as well.
ELeague's first semi-final will be held at 5 pm EST on 29 July, with the second shortly after at 10 pm. The championship will take place at 4 pm EST on 30 July. All three matches will be broadcast on Twitter, Twitch and TBS.