Hungary’s Esport1 extends ESL Pro Tour rights

Hungarian esports broadcaster Esport1 has extended its media-rights agreement for the the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive ESL Pro Tour circuit with esports organisations ESL and DreamHack.

The extended deal for exclusive Hungarian-language rights, which was for an initial one year from early 2019 onwards, will now run until the end of March 2023.

The deal is not fully exclusive as ESL and DreamHack have a global English-language streaming rights deal (excluding China) with Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch, from 2020 to 2022. In 2020, the esports organisations also have deals in place with Facebook and YouTube, but Twitch’s deal will be exclusive in 2021 and 2022.

Esport1 holds rights in Hungary to many top-level esports tournaments and events including Riot Games’ League of Legends European Championship.

Earlier this month it jointly launched a free-to-air esports channel with Hungarian broadcaster Antenna Hungária called EsportGuru.

Since announcing the formation of the ESL Pro Tour in 2019, ESL and DreamHack have agreed linear deals for the ESL Pro Tour in China, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, and Poland.

Although most deals run for one year, the two esports organisation have pushed for longer-term commitments. Its deals in Denmark and Germany also run until 2023.

ESL is majority-owned, and DreamHack fully-owned, by the Swedish media group Modern Times Group.

Organisations and teams see linear deals as a way of lowering the barrier to entry for new audiences to become interested in the Tour and esports in general.

Earlier this week Microsoft-owned streaming service Mixer, rival to Twitch, announced that it would be closing and wound into Facebook from July 22.