Amazon-owned Twitch has a near-monopoly on gaming and esports live-streaming. To expand the monopoly, the company is now looking to expand beyond esports with a newly launched Twitch sports category.
This category will include streams from football teams like Real Madrid, Arsenal, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain. It will also include the existing NBA, NHL, RFL, UFC and NWSL channels. Users can find the new Twitch sports category in the Browse section.
Twitch Sports Category
The platform has featured sports streams previously. However, these streams were under different categories and rarely under the correct representation. The new sports category will allow users to find all sports streams in one location.
The NBA, NHL and UFC already have channels on Twitch and will continue to deliver exclusive broadcasts on the platform. Most of these channels stream content around the video game versions of their games such as NBA2K, NHL 20 and UFC 3. The official NBA channel also shows game reruns, including a ‘Top Ten Games of the Season” broadcast.
The coronavirus pandemic shut down sports leagues as governments imposed new social distancing and health protocols. But many sports leagues resorted to streaming on Twitch to connect with their fanbase.
Athletes competing in the video game versions of their respective games appealed to thousands of enthusiastic esports fans. McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris, Los Angeles Chargers football player Austin Ekeler and NBA star Ben Simmons are a few names that became regular streamers on Twitch.
We out here! We’re going LIVE at 10 PST on @twitch. Workout, prizes from @WilsonFootball and @adidas, Q&A, and more – don’t miss it. Link in bio. ?? pic.twitter.com/lcGP0V2i1I
— Austin Ekeler (@AustinEkeler) July 22, 2020
Amazon and Twitch Growth
Twitch’s foray into sports comes days after Amazon live-streamed Premier League football matches on Amazon Prime Video. Amazon has also secured the German rights to the UEFA Champions League matches, signaling an increased interest in streaming sports matches.
Despite some competition from Microsoft-owned Mixer and Google’s YouTube Gaming, Twitch’s pole spot was never under threat. Mixer even bowed out of the live-streaming race and shut down recently.
Most of Twitch’s audience consists of gaming enthusiasts. Video game streams and live esports tournaments make up most of the hours watched on the platform. But recent sports streams on Twitch still show an increased appetite for physical sports broadcasts.
Twitch slowly diversifies its platform beyond just esports as it sees more and more success. The brand introduced Just Chatting, Music and IRL categories to cater to more viewers.
Retired MLS soccer player and Team USA 2006 World Cup squad member, Jimmy Conrad, hosted the launch event for the new Twitch sports category on Wednesday. The launch event had live interactive content with NBA, House of Highlights, Arsenal F.C., and UFC. Fans can now check out the new Twitch Sports category.
Written by Rohan Samal
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