Cupertino, CA – September 21, 2016 – ESL, the world's largest esports company, SLIVER.tv, a next-generation eSports 360º virtual reality entertainment platform, and WonderWorld VR, a VR production studio, announced that they are partnering to produce the first-ever esports event to be live streamed to fans worldwide in VR at ESL One New York on October 1-2.
Esports is now joining the ranks of traditional sporting events, including the Olympics, which were broadcast in VR for the first time this year in Rio. Esports and VR perfectly complement each other given the compelling visual imagery of esports, the intense spirit of competition in CS:GO tournaments, and the thrilling experience of being surrounded by thousands of other esports fans at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, NY.
There is a clear link between esports and VR, as esports fans tend to be tech savvy and willing to spend on memorable experiences. According to a recent Newzoo report, there is a strong correlation between buying intention and interest in esports. Over half of esports enthusiasts and 24% of occasional viewers are planning to buy VR devices in the near future, compared to 12% on the online population.
ESL One New York will be the first esports event broadcast in virtual reality using a platform agnostic method, meaning it will be viewable through a website, on a mobile device, or a VR headset. Fans worldwide can download and install the SLIVER.tv Android and iOS apps to watch in mobile Panorama-360 or using Google Cardboard, as well as on SLIVER.tv’s website. For a premium experience, users can download the SLIVER.tv GearVR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive apps to watch in full VR.
Stuart Ewen, Product Manager ESL, said: "We’re very excited to launch our very first VR live stream from ESL One New York with the help of SLIVER.tv and WonderWorld. This new method of broadcasting gives viewers a taste of what it's like to be in the arena at an esports mega event, and a brand new perspective on top level CS:GO through in-game virtual cameras. Esports helped pioneer online video streaming, and we couldn't be more proud to take the next step into the future of broadcast media with this initiative."
Mitch Liu, co-founder and CEO of SLIVER.tv, said: “We’re looking forward to showcasing our brand new LiveVRCast technology in partnership with ESL. Previously, viewers could only watch recorded clips VOD, rather than live content. This will be the first event to use our turnkey live-streaming platform for tournament, league and team operators to broadcast popular esports games like CS:GO in immersive 360 VR.”