Esports streaming platforms: where can you watch Esports online?
How we enjoy watching esports streaming has changed quite a bit over the last decade. These days, Esports streaming isn’t just about latency, but most provide a refreshing take on interactive esports streaming as an entertainment medium. Take Twitch’s esports streaming experience for instance, where it has a versatile console-based chat feature for viewers to feel a sense of inclusion as a community.
While Twitch’s impulse has given birth to a whole legion of online esports streaming platforms, it is still a behemoth among Esports streaming platforms, period. For it is the number one go-to platform that has brought the best live esports tournaments to millions of people around the world.
Esports Streaming Platforms: where to see what?
Just like in conventional sports leagues, esports streaming platforms ensure that they have some exclusivity in terms of the reproduction of the most important events. This is why you have to go to specific esports streaming options if you want to watch, for example, ESL One tournaments back in 2019, when they partnered with Facebook Gaming.
Here, we’ll talk about each of the most important esports streaming platforms (Twitch, YouTube, Facebook Gaming, Discord, Caffeine and Steam TV) as well as other options to watch Esports online.
It’s the biggest Esports streaming platform there is, Twitch has long been hailed as the best in the Esports streaming industry. Despite the occasional debacle surrounding Twitch’s policies, it has done a great job at ensuring its platform houses loyal partner streamers, who are personalities in the gaming community.
Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and Imane “Pokimane” Anys are some of the best Esports streamers, who have brought Twitch enough watch hours to make them icons on Twitch. So much that you might be wondering just how much do streamers make at peak performance.
Sure, having renowned influencers use their Esports streaming service exclusively is a major factor in Twitch’s success. However, this platform was also the one that revolutionized the way we enjoy Esports, besides continuing to be one of the biggest players in this market.
Currently, you can watch a wide variety of game content on Twitch, including titles from League of Legends, Fortnite, Counter strike global offensive, Overwatch, Dota 2, Apex Legends and World of Warcraft. In short, Twitch covers practically the most important, most played, and most-watched games globally as well as the most relevant events around them.
This platform has remained at the forefront of the esports industry thanks to its system after being absorbed by Amazon, which allows content creators to get more revenue while subscribers have access to more content. But Twitch is far from being the only platform on which you can watch esports online.
2. Facebook Gaming
The rivalry between Facebook and Google is quite notorious at the business level and as expected after the entry of YouTube Gaming into the Esports streaming market. Facebook saw opportunities to garner more viewers in their current Facebook ecosystem by having a “follow” system. There’s a dedicated section just a swipe away, where you can see tournaments and gameplays of your friends directly in your feed.
On the other hand, Facebook has been a little more aggressive than YouTube in terms of tournaments, making agreements with the ESL to obtain exclusivity in terms of games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2.
Back in 2019, Facebook Gaming wasn’t as feature-packed as it is today. Hence, the deal with ESL, which forced keen Esports fans to watch on FB Gaming backfired. The streams didn’t have user-friendly features and were limited to just basic functions. Which eventually made viewers resort to watching unofficial Twitch and Youtube Gaming streamers, who were broadcasting a similar tournament.
While Facebook resorted to aggressive efforts to become one of the top Esports streaming platforms, YouTube didn’t want to be left behind and took advantage of its share of the growth of the esports industry quite well. At YouTube Gaming, Google has dedicated a space in which players offer their gameplay in a live format, which has taken advantage of its large number of content creators and players looking for content that YouTube already had before implementing this strategy.
Up to this date, the most-watched game on YouTube is Fortnite with over 67 billion views in overall content watched. Although Minecraft and Roblox gaming videos still top the most popular videos on the platform in recent times.
Unfortunately, YouTube has not been able to manage agreements with the most important esports leagues, so as a streaming platform for esports it fails when it comes to tournaments. In this way, YouTube only covers live the most important tournaments such as the world leagues of League of Legends or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Discord is certainly a new player coming into the Esports streaming industry. However, with an already massive gaming fanbase and a primary hub for streamers to communicate with their viewers. Discord streaming quickly became a top contender among other Esports streaming platforms.
Besides providing an easy streaming setup, Discord also has features similar to a Twitch subscription, called Nitro. Which can be donated to your favorite streamers or even fortunate fans.
Frankly, Discord Esports streaming could become a mainstay for the Esports streaming community to use. All thanks to its interactive features surrounding its chat system.
Read also: How to stream on Discord.
This is probably the newest esports streaming platform that is growing in the Esports streaming market. Led by two former Apple designers, it secured investments of over $40 million and has inked digital contracts with Riot Games’ League of Legends Championship Series back in 2019.
However, Caffeine has also been branching out to cater for celebs, such as artist and singer, Drake to stream on their channel earlier this year. Considering the monopoly that other Esports streaming platforms have over many gaming influencers, Caffeine made a surprising yet wise decision to include artists.
What makes this platform interesting is that it works on its own without the need for broadcast software such as OBS or XSplit and allows streamers to use the camera more freely. On the other hand, the number of users isn’t as great yet so you may not find the most famous streamers here.
6. Steam TV
Steam, the company that developed several Esports titles including Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2, took the initiative to get involved in the Esports streaming platforms game so that its gaming community could perform live screenplays and share game content natively.
The extensible platform works phenomenally as forum-based Esports platforms as it pays attention to communication between the content creator and viewers via simplistic chat integration including a voice chat option for private groups through Google Chrome. However, Steam TV has only been openly featuring their own Esports tournaments, namely the DotA 2 The International and CS:GO majors.
Despite this, there is a lot to be expected from Steam’s esports streaming platforms. Considering how much effort they put into improving the chat experience with interactive emotes and stylish profile designs.
7. Game launchers
Just as Steam took the initiative to take advantage of streaming esports through its platform, other brands such as Blizzard Entertainment have taken the initiative to add streaming modalities and live events to their game launchers.
This way you can keep up with Overwatch and World of Warcraft news, follow other players, and even enjoy live events – such as the Overwatch Open – through the desktop program you normally use to access your favorite games.
8. Cable TV
When you ask yourself “Where to watch esports?”, it’s not limited to streaming platforms available on your PC and smartphone. Nowadays you can enjoy featured events through TV chains and channels.
Put simply, it is not a secret that the transmission of sporting events is quite lucrative, for this reason, channels such as TBS, ESPN and BBC have taken the initiative to enter the esports streaming market, especially after the resounding success of the League of Legends World Championship each year – which raked a record of approximately 50 million spectators worldwide.
In a very low-risk bet, TBS started broadcasting esports on TV with only the ELeague tournament, which includes games such as counter-strike global offensive, Street Fighter V, Overwatch and Injustice 2. However, during the past tournament season, they took the risk of transmitting Clash for Cash: The Rematch as well as the Overwatch Open.
Just as expected of the sports channel that is risky to cover almost unknown sports in its affiliated channels, ESPN didn’t waste time before entering the esports market in full. Thus, since 2014, ESPN has been covering the League of Legends international tournament. Additionally, ESPN3 has been in charge of giving live coverage to the Blizzcon events and the International Tournament of DotA 2 for the last two years.
9. The Regional TV & Streaming Options
While most of the international streaming programs move through the media we comment on in this list, dozens of regional media are dedicated to reporting the most important sports events in each region. The most noteworthy case is that of China, which due to state policies does not allow International streaming within the country.
However, platforms like Huya, have had a public offer of up to 180 million dollars and more than 90 million users within the Chinese market. This platform, for example, has covered important events such as the World Electronic Sports Games and the 2018 League of Legends Korea Champions.
There are also platforms such as OPENREC which broadcasts only in Japan, and Garena Live which is accessible from Taiwan, Vietnam, and Thailand.
10. Other options
Last but certainly not least, are the Esports bookmakers. Many curated Esports bookmakers have live streams integrated into their Esports platforms, featuring tournaments that they offer betting markets for.
Hence, it makes sense to use the Esports streaming feature to watch matches, regardless of whether you have any betting slips.
Besides, CSGO betting and Dota 2 betting sites typically offer everchanging Esports odds amidst an ongoing match and Esports news, so that you can keep up to date and make the best decisions regarding your bets.
On another note about betting, Unikrn offers a unique type of betting experience, where betting on streamers is a pop culture. Notably, Fortnite streamers, Ninja and Pokimane often play the game on-stream, hence viewers can bet on the live games.