Facebook doubles down on e-sports with Hi-Rez’s Paladins Premier League contract

From FarmVille to VR to e-sports: Facebook is gunning for whatever the kids are into these days.

At least that’s the takeaway from Hi-Rez’s announcement today. Following last week’s reveal that it’s putting together a WESA-backed 10-member Premier League for Paladins e-sports, Hi-Rez announced today that it’ll be streaming the content from that league exclusively with Facebook Live, complete with a “weekly Paladins Esports Show on Watch, Facebook’s new platform for shows [that] will bring news, insights and analysis of the competitive scene.”

As GI.biz points out, Facebook’s already booked “5,500 hours of ESL’s tournament coverage, 1,000 hours of Wargaming’s esports content, and four monthly broadcasts from PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” though Facebook’s Leo Olebe tells the publication the social media empire’s involvement is more about altruism than profit, at least for now.

“At Facebook, we always talk about building amazing things first and then figure out how to turn it into something economically viable at the end of the road,” he says.

“We’re all in. We’re putting all of our cards, all of our chips on the table. We fundamentally believe that games are an incredible way to connect people to each other and videos are an incredible way to do that too. With our understanding of those two concepts, we’re going to invest and invest. Some things will work, some things won’t.”

As for Hi-Rez, the gaming giant says it aims to take advantage of the “tremendous reach” of Facebook’s 800,000,000 connected gamers, a huge number of whom were already using the platform to build teams and set up matches.

Source: GI.biz, press release
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That sounds like a really good deal for Hi Rez.