Twitch has announced a collaboration with four of the world’s most popular soccer clubs—Real Madrid, Arsenal, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain—as it dives deeper into sports, with a standalone vertical on the site and the relaunch of the /twitchsports channel. As part of the partnership, each club will produce exclusive and interactive content on the Amazon-owned streaming platform.
Twitch, traditionally known for hosting gaming streams, cited “tremendous growth” in sports-related content consumption among its global fan base as reason for the move.
Real Madrid and Arsenal have already started broadcasting on their newly established Twitch channels, with the former gaining 32,000 followers in four months. Arsenal streamed its first broadcast in mid-July. Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain will debut soon, Twitch said, as part of the launch of the new sports vertical.
“The sports community on Twitch is home to some of the most passionate, die-hard fans you will find. The category as a whole has been growing over the last couple of years, and it’s been incredible to see the response from fans and leagues as they’ve discovered how Twitch allows them to engage and interact with each other—even if they are physically on the other side of the world,” Jane Weedon, director of new verticals at Twitch, told Sportico. “This new category and focus on sports programming will give fans exclusive access to their favorite teams and athletes as they make their return to courts and fields.”
The soccer clubs will join a growing roster of leagues and teams utilizing Twitch’s global streaming abilities and interactive features like co-streaming, which allows users to stream their viewing of a broadcast other than their own. The NBA—through the G League and NBA 2K League—the NHL, National Women’s Hockey League, Rugby Football League, UFC and most recently the National Women’s Soccer League, which integrated Twitch into its new media rights deal signed in March, are all utilizing the platform already.
In June, Amazon announced that its coverage of four Premier League soccer matches would be available to watch free on Twitch for U.K. viewers for the first time ever. Amazon has also used the platform alongside Prime Video for ‘Thursday Night Football’ broadcasts in the past and expanded its deal with the NFL in April ahead of the 2020 season. Australia’s National Basketball League has also found a home on Twitch.
Popular athletes themselves have also taken to the platform. Charger’s running back Austin Ekeler, Formula One driver Lando Norris and a handful of WWE Superstars including Rusev, Paige and Cesaro are regularly active on Twitch, which continues to grow its usage by both leagues and individuals within the sports landscape.