Streaming platform Azubu will be the only place to watch certain ESL eSports coverage following the agreement of a two-year deal between the pair.
The deal doesn’t grant exclusive streaming access to ESL events such as ESL One, IEM and the ESL Pro League (although Azubu will stream these), but does provide Azubu with exclusive content and marketing collaborations, such as licensing, distribution and sales representation.
The partnership kicks off immediately.
“As eSports continue to grow exponentially all over the world, drawing larger audiences who want to immerse themselves in the games, experiences and lifestyle, it becomes increasingly important for us to partner with the best platforms to provide access to our events as well as more value to brands who want to reach those audiences,” ESL’s SVP of sales and business development Nik Adams said.
“Azubu’s reach, user experience and passionate dedication to the eSports lifestyle are second to none.”
Azubu’s VP of business development Abe Gottesman added: “Azubu’s partnership with ESL will help both companies grow and expand their reach, which will ultimately better serve the explosively growing eSports audiences.
“This collaboration is more than a content and sales representation relationship. Azubu and ESL are strategically aligned on providing brands a more meaningful and innovative way to interact with the massive eSports demographic on a global level and to deliver Azubu’s eSports community the best eSports programming found anywhere on the planet.”
In December Azubu received a $59m cash injection for debt financing, the potential implications of which depend on your interpretation. Debt financing offers benefits over vanilla investment, and has been employed by many of tech’s big players. However, it’s a riskier strategy that can backfire down the line if the cards don’t fall correctly.
Certainly though, content rights appear to be the tool with which Azubu hopes to take on the combined might of Twitch and YouTube.