Sources close to Twitch.tv have confirmed that they will not be a streaming partner of the MLG Vegas event at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas this weekend. MLG released a statement today that contained the following:
MLG: "Major League Gaming... announced today a global partnership with YouTube for MLG Vegas to distribute live match broadcasts, news and analysis from the event on MLG’s YouTube channel in addition to MLG’s proprietary EVE player on MLG.tv."
This is not unprecedented for MLG as in the past they've attempted to gain exclusive rights to broadcasting Call of Duty content, a move that was regretted by some in the community. However, teamed up with YouTube and pushing their new EVE stream viewer, MLG likely has the reach now to ensure the event will receive significant views, but it remains to be seen if this will be well received by the community who has traditionally resisted such initiatives in the past.
YouTube announced plans in the past to aggressively enter live streaming in the gaming and esports space, but had yet to make a significant impact on the overall streaming landscape. With this move, they ally themselves with a very large esports publisher in Activision-Blizzard.
Activision-Blizzard has a history of trying streaming initiatives outside of Twitch. They recently introduced one click streaming from their games and client to stream directly to Facebook timelines. This was one of a series of moves from other sites to try and take some of the market share of the streaming market.
However, this could also point towards a trend towards developers identifying new streaming partners, like Riot's deal with MLB Advanced Media that was recently leaked. Some think that this could hurt the content of bigger aggregate sites.
Kevin Hitt from WWG: "If the trend continues whereas companies are creating their own streaming distribution platforms, we could see aggregate sites such as Twitch, Facebook, and YouTube get hurt in 2017."
Twitch remains the primary destination for most of the major esports events broadcast to western audiences, but companies like MLBAM, Twitter, and Facebook have recently made moves to get involved in the space as well.
MLG Vegas takes place this weekend at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, NV and features $100,000 tournaments in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Overwatch. You can find out more about the broadcasting of the event from their press release here: http://www.majorleaguegaming.com/news/major-league-gaming-partners-with-youtube-for-mlg-vegas