Since the early-2016 launch of ELEAGUE (an esports partnership between Turner Sports and WME/IMG), they’ve featured content on both linear TV with TBS and on streaming platforms with Twitch. In fact, Turner Sports chief content officer Craig Barry told AA back in 2016 that a key focus was “platform-agnostic” content, or bringing high production values regardless of where the content was airing; “It shouldn’t matter what platform that we’re broadcasting or streaming today, it should be the same high-quality product to all platforms.” Of course, Twitch and TBS have different audiences and different strengths, and the last few years have seen Turner emphasizing features and documentary content on TBS and live matches on Twitch, but both have remained important parts of the ELEAGUE brand. And now, ELEAGUE’s latest announced show, ELEAGUE Super Punch Powered by Twitch, will combine those platforms in a way we haven’t seen before.
A Turner release describes the new show as “a community-driven live show” that will “bring to life the week’s biggest moments in and around gaming and esports – and the creators and communities that drive them – sourced by the community of streamers and fans on Twitch.” And it will air for three hours nightly on Twitch from Monday to Thursday beginning Feb. 3 at 11 p.m. Eastern. But it’s the Friday shows (beginning Feb. 21) that are particularly interesting; those will feature a special live showcase on TBS from midnight Eastern to 1 a.m. Eastern, with Twitch offering an exclusive complementary broadcast from 11 p.m. Eastern to midnight and again from 1 a.m. Eastern to 2 a.m. Eastern. The Monday-Thursday shows will be hosted by Ify Nwadiwe from Twitch’s Los Angeles studios, while the Friday shows will be hosted by Kelly Nugent, J.D. Witherspoon, and Alex Corea from ELEAGUE’s Atlanta headquarters.
Switching back and forth between streaming and linear like that is interesting, but it’s something that could potentially pay off. Friday late night is a TBS timeslot that ELEAGUE has made frequent use of so far, so there’s some appeal to sticking with that. And ELEAGUE’s long history of using both Twitch and TBS may mean that their viewers are more prepared to jump back and forth between TV and streaming than some other viewers might be. Heavily featuring Twitch here also makes sense given the show’s focus on community engagement (which will include top and trending clips, live guest interviews, contests with top streamers and interactive discussions with viewers surrounding trending clips and gaming topics of the day). Here are some quotes from the release about that:
“Super Punch is a dynamic content offering that is built by games for gamers,” said Craig Barry, Chief Content Officer, Turner Sports. “Combining the platforms and assets of ELEAGUE, TBS and Twitch will create an original take on the culture of gaming, streaming and esports content, delivered in a truly immersive experience for our highly engaged fans.”
“We are really thrilled to be working with ELEAGUE and TBS on Super Punch,” said Michael Aragon, SVP Content & Partnerships at Twitch. “People on Twitch come together every day to create their own entertainment. What really excites us about the opportunity is not only showcasing the variety and breadth of talent and content on Twitch, but also staying true to the community-fueled aspect that gives audiences a voice and is so core to the experience.”
Super Punch will debut on Twitch Feb. 3 and on TBS Feb. 21. We’ll see how it turns out.