ESL has shocked fans by announcing a new partnership with Facebook which will include exclusive broadcasting rights for both the ESL Pro League and ESL One events.
The news comes after a year long partnership with YouTube, which saw all of their Pro League content streamed exclusively on the YouTube Gaming platform.
The Esports Championship Series also partnered with YouTube in 2017, meaning that Twitch had lost two of the most prestigious Counter-Strike: Global Offensive leagues on Earth.
Some fans expressed concern about those changes as Twitch is widely regarded as the most popular streaming platform and the go-to place for esports fans.
However, some members of the community, like Chad 'SPUNJ' Burchill, have made it clear that watching top quality CS:GO is what matters, not the platform that it is playing on.
Most people expected to see ESL extend their partnership with YouTube throughout 2018 after a successful first year with few issues.
What nobody saw coming was the announcement on January 18th from ESL that all of their Pro League and ESL One content would be streamed on the Facebook broadcasting platform.
In typical esports fashion, the initial reaction from the community has been one of concern and even anger, with some members going so far as to express a desire to boycott all ESL Facebook content.
However, once the dust settles, it is unlikely that the change will have any massive impact on regular fans or viewers. Watching Facebook streams does not require a Facebook account so that is of no concern.
There is also the possibility of the content reaching a much wider audience thanks to Facebook's 2 billion active monthly users.
Speaking about the announcement, Leo Olebe, the Global Director of Facebook Games Partnerships, said:
Having two of ESL’s most adored properties for CS:GO and Dota 2 streaming exclusively on Facebook is the next step in our efforts to delight the passionate esports community on Facebook. The ability to now watch esports in 1080p and in VR underscores our commitment to adding more ways for fans to watch and connect with each other around the esports content they love most.
The ESL content on Facebook will not be exclusively CS:GO. The first official broadcast will be Dota 2 at ESL One Genting 2018 which begins on January 23rd.
The seventh season of the CS:GO Pro League begins on February 13th.