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Twitter Teams Up With E-Sports Giants To Stimulate User Growth

Joseph Lu

Twitter Inc. TWTR announced that it would be partnering with ESL and DreamHack, two of the world’s leading companies in e-sports, to stream over 1,500 hours of live programming globally.

More than 15 events from ESL One, Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM) and DreamHack will be stream lived on Twitter and connected devices in 2017. Twitter is jumpstarting the live stream this Saturday with IEM’s World Champion in Katowice, Poland, where professional teams will be competing in “Starcraft II” and “Counter-Strike: GO.”

E-Sports is a fairly new market but it’s large and growing. A 15,000-square-foot arena built specifically for e-sports is set to open on this Friday in Las Vegas, according to the Associated Press. The Wall Street Journal reported on Feb. 9 that the National Basketball Association and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. TTWO announced their plans to create a professional videogame league with Take-Two’s popular “NBA 2k” series.

Zacks Investment Research has also reported on the potential of e-sports. Back in January, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. LGF.A invested in an e-sports franchise, The Immortals, to drive its revenue in the long run. Superdata, a research firm on videogames, estimated e-sports revenue to be $892.8 million in 2016 and will surpass $1 billion by 2019.

This is not Twitter’s first attempt at attracting e-sports audiences. The company live-streamed Eleague’s semifinal and championship games last July. The new deal is different than the one time event. In addition to all IEM and ESL One tournament content, ESL will also be producing original content for Twitter. The original content includes a weekly 30-minute show that includes highlights and behind-the-scenes footage.

Twitter has already have dedicated landing pages for the companies up and running. These live streams on Twitter will open up more opportunity for Twitter to further increase their revenue. The stream will include advertising packages with TV style ad spots combined with highlights and recap clips that advertisers can sponsor and promote on Twitter.

"E-sports 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," said Anthony Noto, COO at Twitter. "By partnering with the leading e-sports companies like ESL and DreamHack, we look forward to bringing the best of e-sports live video and conversation together on Twitter."

Twitter revealed their stale user growth in its Q4 earnings. The company reported a 4% growth to 319 million monthly active users year-over-year; however, Twitter had only gained two million additional monthly active users quarter to quarter.Tapping into the e-sports side can attract traffic to the website. Marcus Lindmark, CEO and President at DreamHack, said Twitter is a very strong platform for e-sports as many of the fans and followers already engage with it.

Superdata estimates that there are currently 214 million e-sports viewers worldwide, and it could reach over 300 million in 2019. If all these audience members became monthly active users, Twitter would nearly double its user population based on the company’s fourth quarter report.

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