2017 – A year of noise and chatter. ESL broke 10+ million followers on social media, and entered into new and exciting partnerships as esports continued growing.
In a collaboration with Twitter, more than 15 events in the ESL One, Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM) and DreamHack circuits were live streamed globally on Twitter and connected devices. The engaged audience of gamers were already using Twitter as a primary source of content, and this collaboration brought esports live video and conversation together on one platform.
Another significant partnership was announced with Emirates Airline – every flight in Emirates Airline’s network of over 150 destinations across six continents would now offer ESL esports highlights on the in-flight entertainment system. The flight entertainment included upcoming events which were archived for your viewing pleasure once you’ve grown tired of the same movies during your 10-hour flight.
Emirates is one of the biggest brands in sports being the sponsors of a number of teams, such as Arsenal with their famous Emirates Stadium. The partnership between ESL and Emirates is the first of its kind and a massive leap for esports.
In the same year, Mercedes Benz entered the esports scene with a cooperation with ESL, kicking off with the sponsorship of ESL One Hamburg Dota. ESL CEO Ralf Reichert commented on this partnership, saying that there are exciting possibilities such as mobility solutions for the fans and players.
The esports industry’s growth only accelerated. ESL and Intel revealed the Intel® Grand Slam for CS:GO that will offer a massive $1 million team prize. The Intel® Grand Slam will reward the first team that wins four of the last ten CS:GO competitions hosted by ESL and DreamHack.
2017’s Intel® Extreme Masters registered as the biggest esports event in ESL’s history with 173,000 attendees and 46 million viewers, and the esports audience is expected to reach 500 million fans worldwide by 2020.