PARIS — Vivendi’s Canal Plus Group is joining forces with the Electronic Sports League (ESL), the leading e-sports company which organizes competitions worldwide, to form a strategic partnership.
Through the alliance, Canal Plus and ESL will launch France’s first official e-sports leagues, based on the existing ESL national championship. The competitions will roll out on Canal Group channels, turning the broadcaster into a major e-sports player in France.
The paybox group is currently in negotiations with top game publishers to select the games which will be covered by those leagues.
“The re-imagined national league will help French pro-gamers to stand out and compete against the best teams in international competitions held around the world by ESL and partnering game publishers,” Vivendi said in a statement.
Headquartered in Germany, ESL is the world’s largest video-game event company. “ESL events frequently attract tens of thousands live visitors and many more million online viewers on streaming platforms like Twitch, Azubu or Hitbox,” per ESL.
Canal Group and ESL will also be teaming on the development and promotion of e-sports in France and on raising the profile of France as a key country on the international e-sports circuit.
Vivendi will be backing the initiative via its subsidiaries: Universal Music Group, Dailymotion, and its live-events business via L’Olympia and Digitick.
Canal Plus Group, which will be present at the Paris Games Week at the end of the month, is already a sponsor of Team Vitality, a French team participating in world competitions.
The pay TV group also recently announced the launch of Canal eSports Club, a new TV show dedicated to the e-sports phenomenon and its stars, and will soon air “Game Fever,” a documentary about e-sports.