ESL and Hulu strike deal for exclusive e-sports content

ESL, the world’s largest e-sports company, today announced that it has partnered with Hulu to bring premium e-sports content to a streaming video on-demand service for the first time. Expanding on ESL’s original content offering, the deal includes four new e-sports series — Player v. Player, Bootcamp, Defining Moments and ESL Replay – and will mark Hulu’s first foray into e-sports. All titles will be developed and produced by ESL, and will premiere exclusively on Hulu later this fall.

“The partnership with Hulu marks ESL’s first original series on an on-demand streaming service, and will showcase the diverse nature of e-sports through high quality storytelling,” said Nik Adams, Senior Vice President of Global Media Rights and Distribution, ESL. “Esports appeals to a younger, more digitally savvy audience so Hulu is a perfect platform to build out our original content and expose the world of e-sports to new audiences.”

ESL’s programming includes four unique series that explore the various facets of e-sports, including athlete training and preparation, news and industry trends, and coverage of ESL’s tournaments. According to Nielsen’s latest study, “The Esports Playbook,” e-sports fans spend 3.5 hours per week watching digital or streaming content through services. By creating e-sports content exclusively for Hulu, ESL will bring familiar and popular material to an SVOD platform for the first time.

“E-sports is one of the fastest growing areas of media and entertainment, and, through this first-of-its-kind deal with ESL, we can now bring the popular world of e-sports to Hulu,” said Lisa Holme, Vice President of Content Acquisition, Hulu.  “We know our viewers, especially those watching Hulu on consoles, are hungry for this type of content – so we’re excited to offer it on Hulu for the first time.”

The four e-sports series in the deal include:

–       Player V. PlayerA gamified debate show with casters and esports influencers facing off over the hottest topics in esports. Panelists accrue points while debating both newsy and big picture topics for ultimate bragging rights, with a final challenge over a classic video game. The result is an urgent, passionate conversation amongst signature e-sports personalities, connecting communities while also pitting them against one another.

–       BootcampA weekly docu-series following The Immortals, a top CS:GO team, as they rebuild their roster leading up to IEM Oakland, one of the premiere e-sports events in North America that takes place on November 18 – 19 at Oracle Arena. With the tournament just weeks away, and currently three players short of a full team, The Immortals must find new talent and quickly build a cohesive team. Bootcamp will follow The Immortals through the extensive process of player evaluation, testing, and trials until they finally find the perfect players and then race to get ready for IEM Oakland. The series will also give unprecedented access to the inner workings of a professional e-sports team, with scrimmages and practice sessions at the team house as they formulate a new strategy and build team chemistry.

–       Defining Moments. Dive deep into the most impactful moments in e-sports history with passionate casters and analysts explaining what made these moments so monumental. Defining Moments will cover many of the top games and fan the flames of ongoing debates about these plays. Each episode is centered on a specific theme for the week, whether trick-shots and insane reflex skills, controversial moves and their impact on gaming history, or long-lasting rivalries and how they came to be. The series will feature in-depth interviews with game designers, teammates, fans, rivals, even sports scientists assessing reaction speed – anyone who can add to the story of defining moments in e-sports.

–       ESL Replay. A fast-paced, condensed, documentary-style recap of the most memorable moments from four of the biggest multi-day e-sports tournaments in the world, including in-depth analyses and behind-the-scenes footage not part of the tournament live stream. A never-before-seen view of the tournament that will entertain those who watched the full tournament and those who missed the action and want to see what they missed. Each episode of Replay will be edited and aired within a week of the live event.

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