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Facebook and ESL Expand Their Partnership

Brandon Contes

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Facebook and esports company, ESL, have announced a partnership which makes the social network an exclusive destination for ESL leagues and tournaments.

Beginning January 23rd the ESL One tournament series featuring Counter-Strike and Dota 2 will stream live through Facebook Watch. A previous announcement between ESL and Facebook from last May stated the social media giant would broadcast 5500 hours of ESL content. This week’s agreement will be in addition to those 5500 hours.

Twitch has previously been a more attractive esports destination, already partnering with The Overwatch League, signing a two-year $90 million deal last week. Blizzard announced The Overwatch League’s opening day on January 10th averaged 408,000 viewers per minute.

As Jacob Wolf from ESPN noted, that number is more average viewers than Amazon received during their Thursday Night Football stream. The NFL, however, did average over 10 million TNF viewers on linear television in addition to Amazon’s stream. Still, ESL chose Facebook over Twitch, as their landing spot.

“We look at Facebook as the best of both worlds,” says Ken Hershman, the commissioner of the World Esports Association, an industry collaboration between top teams and ESL. “It’s a tremendous streaming platform, but it’s obviously a social and engagement platform.”

According to Wired.com, one reason ESL chose Facebook over Twitch is the future of their viewing experience. Through Facebook 360 and 5G networks, ESL will soon be broadcasting tournaments to mobile devices in VR. Facebook also has a nearly 10 times larger daily reach than Twitch.

The first official tournament broadcast as part of their new deal on Facebook will be next week, with ESL One Genting on January 23rd, followed by the CS:GO Pro League beginning its season on February 13th.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

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New Episodes of Beyond Limits Coming to CBS Sports

The series, which first premiered in September 2021, is produced by the CBS Sports Race and Culture Unit, with senior producer Sarah M. Kazadi.

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Courtesy: CBS Sports

CBS Sports is set to premiere new episodes of its franchise Beyond Limits, which celebrates athletes who go beyond the implicit boundaries of sports and society. Three half-hour episodes will be hosted by CBS Sports reporter AJ Ross, and will also air on CBS’ linear channel and stream live on Paramount+.

The first episode of the season is titled “Who I Am,” and it will feature Byron Perkins, who is the first openly gay football player at a historically black college or university (HBCU). Perkins is a redshirt senior at Hampton University. The show will also discuss the relationship he has with his mother and how she has impacted him both as a person and an athlete.

Two more episodes will premiere throughout the season – one on making sports adaptable and accessible; and the other featuring athletes who have moved into executive roles. The latter show includes interviews with NBA Executive Vice President and Head of Basketball Operations, Joe Dumars; New Orleans Pelicans Vice President of Basketball Operations and Team Development, Swin Cash; and NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations, Troy Vincent.

The series, which first premiered in September 2021, is produced by the CBS Sports Race and Culture Unit, with senior producer Sarah M. Kazadi. Its first episode premieres on Sunday, June 11 at 1:30 p.m. EST/10:30 a.m. PST, and should provide fans with unique storytelling and spotlight into the journeys of various key figures in sports and media alike.

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ESPN Colleagues Pay Tribute to Neil Everett

“It was universal praise from the people that knew and worked with Everett.”

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Courtesy: ESPN Images

Neil Everett has become one of the faces of SportsCenter. After 23 years at ESPN, he announced that he is leaving the network.

Colleagues at the World Wide Leader took to Twitter to share their thoughts. It was universal praise from the people that knew and worked with Everett. Chief among them was his SportsCenter partner of fourteen years, Stan Verrett.

Everett has spent the last two years as part of the television studio crew covering the Portland Trail Blazers. He told Front Office Sports that he will be seeking to expand his role with the team.

If Root Sports Northwest requires references, there are plenty ESPN colleagues past and present that were immediately ready to vouch for Neil Everett.

Everett was not laid off. He turned down a new contract that would have forced him to take a pay cut.

The Walt Disney Company is in the middle of layoffs effecting every division. CEO Bob Iger has tasked his leaders with reducing costs by $5.5 billion and cutting 7000 jobs.

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Bleav To Launch 2 FuboTV Channels

“Over 1,000 hours of original content is produced by Bleav each month.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Sports and entertainment media production company Bleav has officially launched two channels available now on FuboTV.

Bleav Sports and Bleav Football will utilize content from its podcast network to comprise programming on the TV side.

“We are excited to be partnering with Fubo, one of the premiere companies for sports streaming,” Bleav president Eric Weinberger said.

Over 1,000 hours of original content is produced by Bleav each month. Former NFL and NBA standouts like Ahman Green, Rudy Gay, Lamar Odom, LenDale White, Ike Taylor and Jonathan Stewart are just some of the hosts for Bleav.

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