PARIS — Vivendi’s Canal Plus Group is joining forces with the Electronic Sports League (ESL), the leading e-sports company which organizes competitions worldwide, to form a strategic partnership.
Through the alliance, Canal Plus and ESL will launch France’s first official e-sports leagues, based on the existing ESL national championship. The competitions will roll out on Canal Group channels, turning the broadcaster into a major e-sports player in France.
The paybox group is currently in negotiations with top game publishers to select the games which will be covered by those leagues.
“The re-imagined national league will help French pro-gamers to stand out and compete against the best teams in international competitions held around the world by ESL and partnering game publishers,” Vivendi said in a statement.
Headquartered in Germany, ESL is the world’s largest video-game event company. Its tournaments and leagues bring together more than 10,000 people on-site and an additional 10,000 more online.
Canal Group and ESL will also be teaming on the development and promotion of e-sports in France and on raising the profile of France as a key country on the international e-sports circuit.
Vivendi will be backing the initiative via its subsidiaries: Universal Music Group, Dailymotion, and its live-events business via L’Olympia and Digitick.
Canal Plus Group, which will be present at the Paris Games Week at the end of the month, is already a sponsor of Team Vitality, a French team participating in world competitions.
The pay TV group also recently announced the launch of Canal eSports Club, a new TV show dedicated to the e-sports phenomenon and its stars, and will soon air “Game Fever,” a documentary about e-sports.