Facebook is betting on electronic sports to increase its live programming

Facebook has announced on Thursday a large-scale initiative to promote and distribute content related to electronic sports in association with Electronic Sport League (ESL). The company that organizes video game competitions gives Menlo Park the right to retransmit more than 5,500 hours distributed between games and original content on the social network with 1,500 hours of exclusive content.

Video is the most attractive format for Facebook, since it increases the average time that users spend on the social network and the number of ads that their users see daily. Video impressions are the best paid by advertisers.

But creating original content is expensive . Relying on sports competitions such as football and baseball leagues is even more so. Amazon has had to spend 50 million dollars to get the rights to broadcast Thursday Night Football.

With electronic sports, Facebook ensures a wide and very cheap content that is aimed specifically at the younger audience. It is a very attractive demographic , since the fan of electronic sports is usually permeable to the advertising of brands of consumer electronics, fast food, energy drinks, etc. SuperData estimates an audience of 300 million viewers in 2019.

The contract stipulates that “partners” have to produce a minimum number of hours of content within the social network, although it is allowed to be retransmitted, simultaneously, on rival platforms such as Amazon’s Twitch .

More than a direct offensive to the empire that runs Amazon is a simple entry into a very attractive market, which fills a significant gap in the demographic of Facebook use. But professional players and fans are on Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.

“Twitter is still the social network par excellence in electronic sports because it is easy to make viral memes about competitions and the absence of parents,” says Fernando Cardenete, a journalist specializing in coverage of League of Legends competitions and other titles for the newspaper AS and radio Cope. “The parents cohart the public conversations among the young fans and, added to the fact that there is not going to be exclusivity at the moment to broadcast on other platforms and that people have a very assimilated Twitch or YouTube even, I do not think there is going to be an important transfer of public to Facebook in the short term. ”

Maybe Facebook does not manage to steal users from Amazon, but it can expand the phenomenon to a less specialized and passionate audience.

“These movements of Facebook are very good to take the phenomenon to a wider, global audience, and not yet aware of this new sport,” says Pedro Manuel Ollero, representative of Razer. “While it has many benefits for the industry, and above all for the sustainability of the teams, we must also look at whether they will generate elements of community retention, as Twitch does with chat and other features.”

Twitch is your community , your chat, your memes, the proper names and the moments that arise in the portal for videogame retransmission excellence. It is something that can hardly replicate rivals like Google or Facebook. Twitch offers a very attractive ecosystem for content creators, supported by well-received patronage systems such as subscriptions or donations.

Many young people live to entertain through Twitch. Every day they connect with a great legion of staunch supporters or curious players who want to know more about a game.

Is it just a matter of money that Facebook conquers this market? At the moment the company is testing the terrain, but it would not be strange to see a cracking in this sector in a few months.

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