ESL Pro League Seasons 5 and 6 will be streamed exclusively on YouTube Gaming, confirming the reports made by DeKay and Richard Lewis which surfaced a week prior to the official announcement. Rumours of the deal were initially met with feelings of unease amongst the Counter-Strike community, as questions surrounding a fall in potential viewership numbers came rolling in.
YouTube Gaming’s successful push for exclusivity means, by definition, that the competition will no longer be available on Twitch. Given that many eSports fans watch tournaments almost exclusively on Twitch, the agitation over which platform ESL Pro League season 5 would be streamed on was completely warranted.
The communities of different eSports treat their games like their children, and as such they react accordingly when the thing they’ve loved and nurtured is affected by a decision like this. Luckily for CS:GO’s protective parents, the YouTube Gaming deal is not the end of the world.
ESL Pro League to be exclusively streamed on YouTube Gaming, per sources.
S5 Final will take place in Dallas.https://t.co/L65TPPQdvn
— DeKay (@NWDeKay) January 6, 2017
Can verify the EPL being broadcast on Youtube reports by Dekay. I have been told the same by multiple reliable sources.
— Richard Lewis (@RLewisReports) January 6, 2017
Just a few years ago eSports was barely a newborn child, yet like all children, at some point puberty is going to roll in out of no-where and that kid is going to grow leaps and bounds faster than he or she did in their younger years. Streaming services securing exclusive rights for a major competition is something that has been expected for a while within the industry, whilst it’s true that YouTube Gaming’s viewership numbers have a lot of growing left to do, 2017 could prove to be the start of the platforms pubescent years in eSports.
“YouTube is happy to announce our partnership with WESA to distribute the upcoming seasons of the ESL Pro League,
“Entering their 5th Season, ESL’s ability to continue to produce the highest quality content at the pinnacle level of competitive play is unrivaled. Professional Counter-Strike fans and viewership has been growing at such an explosive rate and we are excited to continue sharing this passion with our gaming viewers.”
Ryan Wyatt, Global Head of Gaming Content at YouTube
Many eSports fans will remember their early teenage years like they were yesterday: a deepening voice and growing six inches seemingly overnight were signs of a rapidly developing level of maturity. eSports has been similarly maturing over the past few years. What has come with the growing maturity of the industry is the level of sustainability no longer predicated on viewership alone.
Throughout the past year eSports has seen a number of personalities, professional athletes, and business corporations looking to grab their share of the industry pie. These deals and investments are only going to continue to roll in left and right for talented players, dedicated organizations and tournament organizers.
No longer will it matter if streaming the forthcoming ESL Pro League season on YouTube Gaming leads to marginal viewer decline. There comes a time when all parents let their children go and play independently – maybe it’s time the CS:GO community gave ESL the opportunity to develop outside of the all-too-familiar backyard.