CBS Interactive Games extends its reach into eSports and live gaming with new partnerships with own3D and the North American Star League.
Press release from CBS Communications Group:
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – CBS Interactive announced it is expanding its position as the leader in eSports and live gaming through partnerships with one of the largest live streaming platforms in the world, own3D and the professional eSports League, the North American Star League (NASL). These partnerships follow recent announcements with TwitchTV and Major League Gaming, and further solidify CBS Interactive Games’ position as the most engaged video property for gamers worldwide.
Each month, own3D attracts 14 million people from all over the world who watch live gaming competitions and events. Through its partnership with own3D, CBS Interactive Games will exclusively sell the advertising promotions and sponsorships for this community. CBS Interactive Games will also represent the NASL as the exclusive online broadcaster of their extensive programming.
“The addition of these two partners to CBS Interactive Games is an exciting step for us as ramp up our position in the rapidly growing category of eSports and live gaming,” said Fouad ElNaggar, SVP, Strategy and Development, CBS Interactive. “The live audience that comes with major eSports events offers advertisers unmatched engagement levels, with people watching and interacting with content that they are passionate about for up to 40 minutes at a time. That is the kind of engagement that only comes through live programming and not through bite-size, on-demand clips. We’re very excited to be working with these partners to bring live gaming events to our audience.”
Across CBS Interactive Games, more than 3 billion minutes of video are served each month to 18-34 year old males, making these sites 300% more likely to deliver this coveted demographic than traditional video sites like YouTube. The rise of competitive gaming, or eSports, delivers new level of engagement to advertisers, with audiences tuning in for an average of 23 minutes versus the three minutes for a typical on-demand clip, while at the same time engaging with each other and the event through social platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
As eSports and live gaming grows in popularity, it is quickly reaching the same levels of size and scale as some traditional sporting events, such as college basketball and baseball, as well as some of the most popular shows on cable TV. Michael Pachter, a prominent consumer analyst at Wedbush Morgan, estimates that the audience for eSports will double every two years over the next decade.
Launched in 2009, own3D is now the official home for League of Legends streaming online. League of Legends has grown into the most-played game worldwide, overtaking World of Warcraft and Call of Duty when it comes to hours played online. own3D is currently the leading live gaming platform in Europe and boasts the biggest names in professional gaming, such as Fnatic and SK-Gaming.
U.S. game developers such as Valve, id Software, and Riot Games have chosen own3D because of the company’s leading HD live streaming technologies. own3D holds the gaming industry record for the largest Full HD live stream – reaching 250,000 concurrent live viewers.
“In just a few short years, own3D has quickly established itself as the preeminent live gaming platform, attracting the top live gaming content producers such as Counter Logic Gaming and millions of fans every month who are passionate about live gaming,” said Zvetan Dragulev, CEO, own3D. “We are thrilled to be working with CBS Interactive Games to extend our reach and open ourselves up to new opportunities to grow in this exciting space.”
The North American Star League, which is the largest StarCraft II tournament in the world, features 45 of the world’s best players competing for more than $100,000 in prizes each season. Established to foster the prominence of eSports in North America through highly visible, organized, and invigorating competition, the North American Star League is the premiere eSports broadcaster in the world. As such, the NASL is renowned for broadcasting high-definition, high-quality eSports league events involving the top competitive titles in the scene.
The NASL delivers more than 20 hours of new content over 40 broadcast hours weekly, resulting in more than 75 million views in 2011 alone. As part of the partnership, CBS Interactive Games will have exclusive broadcast rights to all of the NASL tournaments.
“The rise we’ve seen over the past few years in the popularity of our StarCraft II tournaments is truly impressive,” said Russell Pfister, CEO of NASL. “Live gaming and eSports is quickly making its way to becoming one of the largest live sporting events in the world. Working with CBS Interactive Games is going to allow us to grow even faster and reach their coveted audience.”