Home News Business Intel And ESL Extend Their Esports Alliance With A $100 Million Deal

Intel And ESL Extend Their Esports Alliance With A $100 Million Deal

Intel will back the ESL with technology until at least 2021.

 Team Fnatic during Counter-Strike: Global Offensive final game between FaZe Clan and Fnatic on March 4, 2018 in Katowice, Poland. - Surge Zirc SA
KATOWICE, POLAND – MARCH 04: Team Fnatic during Counter-Strike: Global Offensive final game between FaZe Clan and Fnatic on March 4, 2018 in Katowice, Poland. (Photo by Norbert Barczyk/PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images)

Intel and ESL have been esports buddies for years, but they’re deepening that commitment as 2018 winds to a close. The two companies have extended their partnership relationship with a $100 million deal that will last through 2021. What more is there to know regarding the partnership between them?

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Intel will provide the computing power for both the gaming rigs and the servers behind the scenes, but it’ll also use this as an opportunity to test up-and-coming technologies. Expect it to use tournaments as a sales pitch for 5G, then.

The arrangement will add a new tournament to the mix and turn an Intel Extreme Masters event in China into its own stand-alone affair.

ESL’s Mark Cohen touted the deal to CNBC as proof that the esports field is growing up. Earlier deals tended to last for a year or two at most, Cohen said, but that’s different now that there are “other big brands” and conventinonal entertainment companies involved.

ESL can follow a strategy closer to traditional sports where it can strike long, high-profile deals that add legitimacy and give it room to grow.

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Of course, this is also a calculated bet on Intel’s part. It’s counting on esports blossoming enough that a deep investment now will pay off with more people buying Intel-based gaming PCs. And it has a better reason than usual to kick its support into overdrive: it’s facing stiffer competition than ever from AMD’s Ryzen processors. If it doesn’t splurge on things like the ESL deal, it risks losing mindshare to gamers.

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