After delivering the first-ever live VR broadcast of an eSports tournament in November, virtual reality entertainment platform Sliver.tv and eSports company ESL are going wider with the idea in 2017, with 14 events scheduled for live VR treatment.
The agreement has Sliver.tv also broadcasting eSports tournaments run by organizer DreamHack, which operates the DreamLeague, ASTRO Open and DreamHack Masters tourneys. Between those and ESL’s ESL One and Intel Extreme Masters series, the tourneys reach a combined 50 million-plus viewers, watching players compete in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), League of Legends (LoL) and Dota 2.
“We are thrilled to be working closely with two of the largest eSports tourney organizers in the world in 2017,” said Mitch Liu, founder and CEO of Sliver.tv. “Our vision is to forever transform the eSports spectating experience by providing new perspectives and insights into live eSports streams. In partnering with ESL and DreamHack across these 14 global events, we have the opportunity to showcase our 360 (degree) virtual reality, live replays and stats technology to millions of eSports fans worldwide.”
The tournaments — beginning with the DreamHack Masters Las Vegas event Feb 15-19 — will be broadcast in VR using Sliver.tv’s VR Live Cast platform, which has been in beta testing over the last few months. Sliver.tv reported that its VR presentation of the late-November IEM Oakland event drove 13 times the video content views and 40% more viewer engagement, compared to the company’s first VR eSports event.
“Our partnership with Sliver.tv at ESL One New York and IEM Oakland last year exceeded our expectations, and our fans, teams and players were blown away by the first-ever live broadcast of CS:GO and League of Legends in VR,” said Stuart Ewen, product manager for ESL. “We are delighted to partner with Sliver.tv this year across seven events starting with Intel Extreme Masters in Katowice, Poland where in 2016 we saw over 100,000 attendees and nearly two million peak concurrent online viewers.”
Marcus Lindmark CEO of DreamHack AB, added: “DreamHack was impressed with Sliver.tv’s success with ESL events last year and its unique offering. We decided to work exclusively with Sliver.tv globally in 2017 on seven events and leverage its turnkey end-to-end VR Live Cast platform solution so we can focus on our production. DreamHack ASTRO Open is one of the longest running eSports circuits in the world with over 150 million started streams alone in 2016. We are looking forward to an even more successful year with the addition of the new 360 VR streams.”
The tournaments can be viewed using Android and iOS devices and by owners of the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR and HTC Vive.