×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Twitch, FaceIt Launch eSports League Offering Teams Ownership Stakes

The Esports Championship Series launches with 'Counter-Strike' tourney with $3.5 million prize pool

Twitch and competitive-gaming platform startup FaceIt are shaking up the eSports world, joining forces to form a professional league that is offering teams co-ownership positions.

The companies say their Esports Championship Series will be the first video-game league to offer teams an ownership stake in the venture, akin to traditional pro sports leagues like the NFL. The initiative’s flagship league, “ECS – Counter-Strike,” will kick off Wednesday with a prize pool of $3.5 million, with players competing in Valve’s “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” first-person shooter game (pictured above).

With the ECS, Twitch and FaceIt will be competing with Activision Blizzard’s Major League Gaming and Electronic Sports League (ESL). It’s also squaring off against ELeague, the joint venture of Turner Broadcasting and WME/IMG set to launch in May with a 10-week televised “Counter-Strike” tournament.

“A major part of Twitch’s success is built around our relationship with the eSports community, from the players and organizations who have made it a leading form of entertainment, to our own staff with deep roots in the scene,” said Stuart Saw, Twitch’s director of eSports strategy. “We’ve listened to what the teams and players are looking for, which is to have a bigger voice in the movement, and it inspired us to partner with FaceIt to launch the ECS.”

The ECS league will comprise 20 teams, 10 from North America and 10 from Europe. The “Counter-Strike” competition launches Wednesday with a closed qualifying round, with a pre-show at 8:30 a.m. Pacific and game time at 9 a.m.

The Esports Championship Series will be presented exclusively on Twitch, with every match streaming on FaceIt’s Twitch channel. Twitch and FaceIt also will pay for travel, accommodations, on-site concierge services, lounges, parties and other amenities for players.

“Players and teams are the heart of the eSports community and deserve the opportunity to reap the rewards of their hard work and dedication to grow esports into a mainstream phenomenon,” said Michele Attisani, co-founder of FaceIt.

Twitch and FaceIt said all parties involved worked closely to determine a “strict code of conduct” for player treatment and payments. Teams and players will also be given seats on the league’s governing committee to help decide and enforce key aspects of the league, including regulatory framework, integrity, players’ welfare, holidays and best practices to ensure synergy among the league and its participants.

In addition, FaceIt said it will create a development league that will feed new teams and players into the ECS league. The development league will kick off with the launch of season 2 of the ECS.

Amazon-owned Twitch has more than 100 million viewers, who watch and talk about video games broadcast by more than 1.7 million gamers.

U.K.-based FaceIt, founded in 2012, says it has more than 4 million users logging in a total of over 6 million online game sessions per month. In January the company announced that it had raised $15 million in venture-capital funding from Anthos Capital, Index Ventures and United Ventures.

According to research firm Newzoo, about 21% of all hours watched on Twitch from July to December 2015 was eSports content, representing an average of some 79 million hours per month.

More Digital

  • USA Today Mobile Apps Get Oscars

    USA Today Launches Oscars AR Experience to Highlight Work of Costume Designers (EXCLUSIVE)

    USA Today is getting ready for the Academy Awards with an augmented reality (AR) experience dedicated to the work of the costume designers on some of the Oscar-nominated movies. The experience, which went live in USA Today’s Android and iOS app Monday, presents wardrobe from 6 movies in augmented reality, including costumes worn on “Mary [...]

  • Amazon Prime

    Amazon Prime India Greenlights ‘Bandits’ Music Series

    Amazon Prime Video India has greenlit original series “Bandish Bandits.” The show is a musical created by Still and Still Media Collective. The series will follow an Indian classical musician bound by tradition and a pop star whose performance skills are greater than her talent. A bandish is a term used to describe a musical [...]

  • Alibaba Buys 8% Stake in Chinese

    Alibaba Buys 8% Stake in Chinese Video Platform Bilibili

    Alibaba has purchased an 8% stake in the Chinese online video platform Bilibili, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Bilibili is one of China’s top video streaming and entertainment platforms, with about 92 million monthly active users and 450 million page-views per day. Founded in 2009, it was listed on the NASDAQ last March. Alibaba’s [...]

  • Clevver-Logo

    Hearst Magazines Buys Clevver's Pop-Culture YouTube Channels After Defy's Demise

    Hearst Magazines has snapped up Clevver, a network of female-skewing lifestyle and pop-culture news YouTube channels that had been owned by now-defunct Defy Media. Clevver was left homeless after Defy’s sudden shutdown in November; its principals said at the time they were looking for a new home. Hearst Magazines sees a digital fit with Clevver’s [...]

  • "Brother" -- Episode 201-- Pictured (l-r):

    CBS Interactive's Marc DeBevoise on Streaming Boom, Content Strategy, and Apple

    Not everyone wants or needs to be Netflix to succeed in the streaming space. And not everyone sees Apple’s enigmatic new service as a threat. Even as rival streaming services offer gobs of content, CBS Interactive’s president and COO Marc DeBevoise sees the company’s targeted original programming strategy continuing to attract viewers to its All [...]

  • Rhett-Link-Good-Mythical-Morning

    Rhett & Link's Mythical Entertainment in Talks to Acquire Smosh (EXCLUSIVE)

    Smosh, the YouTube comedy brand left stranded after parent company Defy Media went belly-up, may be about to get a new business partner. Mythical Entertainment, the entertainment company founded by top YouTube comedy duo Rhett & Link, has been in talks about acquiring the Smosh brand, sources told Variety. Multiple potential buyers came forward to [...]

  • Pokemon Go

    Proposed 'Pokémon Go' Lawsuit Settlement May Remove Poké Stops, Gyms

    A proposed settlement in the class action lawsuit against “Pokémon Go” developer Niantic could remove or change a number of Poké Stops and Gyms in the popular augmented reality game. The proposed settlement was filed in a California court on Thursday and applies to anyone in the U.S. who owns or leases property within 100 meters [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content