In an effort to further expand its fledgling e-sports efforts, Activision Blizzard is looking beyond Twitch and YouTube. Today the company announced a new "deeper collaboration with Facebook" that will allow it to broadcast live e-sports events on the social network. The broadcasts will be powered by the MLG.tv streaming platform, which Activision acquired back in January. "E-sports is an exciting space and continues to be a growing priority for us," says Dan Reed, Facebook's head of global sports partnerships. The collaboration will debut with a Call of Duty: Black Ops III MLG tournament in Anaheim on June 10th.
The publisher has tried various tactics to introduce live e-sports events to new viewers — including putting them directly in a game — but the new Facebook integration appears to be the biggest effort yet at reaching a more mainstream audience. "Based on our tests so far and our existing partnership for Facebook, it's where we see our greatest capability to introduce a new audience to e-sports," MLG co-founder Mike Sepso told The Guardian.
"It's where we see our greatest capability to introduce a new audience to e-sports"
In addition to the expansion to Facebook, Activision also announced new broadcast tools to offer more information to viewers during e-sports events. Called the enhanced viewer experience, or EVE, the feature is described as "a built-in algorithmic system that provides viewers with match statistics, up-to-the-minute leaderboards, and situational insights based on the competition they are watching." The experience, which will be featured on MLG.tv, will also include a new daily news show hosted by veteran broadcaster Chris Puckett, that will include highlights and interviews, sort of like an e-sports version of Sports Center. It's all a part of Activision's quest to build, in the word of CEO Bobby Kotick, the "ESPN of e-sports."