Television Business International

Telefónica makes eSports move

eSports_CompetitorTelefónica España has signed a strategic agreement with electronic sports giant ESL to develop a platform with exclusive content for the Movistar+ premium pay TV offering.

Telefónica is also investing in a dedicated eSports content platform and will also create a professional eSports club – Movistar Riders ­– in Spain.

Telefónica said that the deal would place eSports at the core of its content strategy.

The two companies will jointly promote both amateur and professional eSports competitions in Spain to attract the best national and international talent.

The deal calls for localisation and customisation for the Spanish market of major ESL competitions in partnership with Movistar+, with the latter having a presence at major gaming shows and eSports events associated with ESL Arena and ESL Expo.

Movistar+ will also build a content creation platform for eSports, promoted on digital media, social networks and TV.

A new channel, Movistar eSports, which will be available on channel 29 on Telefónica’s IPTV and DTH satellite platforms, will offer coverage of competitions including ESL One, ESL Intel Extreme and ESL Masters Series.

The operator will provide up to 25 hours of live coverage of each of the 13 tournaments scheduled for this year. The channel will also include additional exclusive content from the Movistar Game Centre – a new physical facility that will serve as the HQ of Movistar Riders.

According to Telefónica, the latter will be structures like a professional sports club with five teams with competitions focused around games Overwatch, Hearthstone, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Call of Duty and League of Legends.

Movistar’s premium sports channel Movistar Deportes 1 and Movistar Deportes 2 will also offer coverage of eSports, while the operator’s flagship channel #O, launched a year ago, will also provide news and uptdates via a new daily eSports programme, Minuto #0.

Movistar+ will also offer a new dedicated digital platform for eSports fans to find updates and programming schedules that will also include audiovisual content, the ability purchase games and participate in competitions, and a range of other benefits and discounts.

Telefónica highlighted its ability to provide high-bandwidth connectivity over both fixed and mobile networks to provide optimal gaming experiences.

On the marketing side, the telco has teamed up with mobile phone manufacturer and electronics giant Huawei to make the latter’s digital natives-targeted Honor smartphone the official partner of Movistar Riders.

“This will create an electronic gaming ecosystem in the country which, in addition to the very best telecommunications networks, will position Telefónica and its Movistar brand at the epicentre of this mass phenomenon that young people are joining with unbridled enthusiasm. We want to do our part for eSports, which we believe is the ‘sport of the 21st century’,” said Luis Miguel Gilpérez, president of Telefónica España.

Telefónica’s commitment to eSports seems to go beyond what its rivals Vodafone and Orange have done in the field to date. Vodafone struck a deal last year to create G2 Vodafone, a sister team of leading Spanish eSports team G2 eSports, formerly known as Gamers2,while Orange recently struck a deal with Mediapro-owned Fandroid, the outfit behind Spanish eSports organisation the Liga de Videojuegos Profesional (LVP) to sponsor LVP competitions for the next three years.