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Published: February 2, 2023

Written by: Isabella Aslam

  • The tournament organizer has ended its exclusive deal with Twitch
  • ESL events will return on YouTube and other streaming platforms
  • Streamed events will include the ESL Pro League, the ESL Pro Tour, and ESL Impact

Ever since the backlash the ESL received in previous years, fans have been more open to the idea of watching the CS:GO tournaments on platforms other than Twitch.

ESL Returns to Other Platforms

Esports tournaments often rely on third parties to broadcast the events. This means that often, they are toed up to just one exclusive distributor, limiting said tournaments’ reach. The ESL was one such competition, tied to exclusive streaming on Twitch, but for the 2023 season, the tournament is going to be broadcast on YouTube as well.

The ESL has been streamed on Twitch exclusively since 2020 when it and DreamHack signed a three-year deal with Twitch. It was initially non-exclusive for 2020 and then limited all official English language streams to Twitch for 2021 and 2022. In previous years, the ESL had signed exclusive deals with Facebook and YouTube but both deals were met with criticism from the community.

The uproar against the two previous deals was not without reason, as Facebook’s live streaming service was criticized for its poor viewership experience and lack of functionality. Unfortunately for viewers, it was impossible to watch the ESL Pro League and ESL One events on any other platform. The backlash eventually forced the ESL to renegotiate the deal and drop exclusivity the following year.

ESL then tried the same approach with YouTube. Although the viewer experience was better, by that point Twitch had already been the home of CS:GO for years, and many viewers were simply much more comfortable with that platform, leading to more pushback from the community, albeit to a lesser degree.

Since then, fans have been more open to the idea of using platforms other than Twitch. A huge reason for this was the proliferation of other big CS:GO tournaments, like the rise of the popularity of  BLAST and PGL events, which were often streamed simultaneously on both YouTube and Twitch.Now that the ESL’s deal now allows them to stream their events across multiple platforms, including that of ESL Pro League and the ESL Pro Tour. In fact, this news comes just a couple of days after the ESL announced the groups for Impact Katowice, meaning there’s a high probability the event would be broadcast on multiple platforms. Other parts of ESL’s circuit, including ESL National Championships, can now also be streamed to multiple services.

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