That a 26-year-old streamer could attract names of this magnitude has drawn criticism from more mainstream media.
“Who is Ibai? I called Agüero for an interview, but Ibai beats me, and if Ibai beats me, I have to retire, ”Argentine announcer Gustavo López said. “They talk to the powerful and ignore those of us who are paid in pesos.” Others made fun of Llanos as an “artist” rather than a journalist.
For Llanos, however, that’s kind of the point. “Maybe I’m the kind of person they like,” he said of the players. “A little different.” He doesn’t try to interfere in their personal life. He doesn’t try to ask them hard questions about what, to them, is often just their job. Instead, he tries to talk to them as informally as possible, while doing something – playing video games – that they enjoy.
“They come because they like it,” he says. “They are not paid. They come because they want to come.
The motivation of the players is perhaps a little more calculating than that. “Twitch is the platform for Generation Z,” said Julian Aquilina, broadcast specialist at media research firm Enders Analysis. “He skews very young, and quite masculine. It’s quite a different audience than traditional broadcasters. Llanos offers a valuable route to this audience: his interview with Dybala, for example, drew over 100,000 live viewers, mostly teenagers.
There is no doubt, however, that football’s biggest stars find it a more appealing prospect than a more formal interview. “Twitch has a lot more of a community vibe,” Aquilina said. “It’s a lot more interactive. For at least one of Llanos’ guests, the appeal was that talking to Llanos didn’t feel like an interview at all. There was no camera, no sound equipment, no call and answer to questions, no defined structure. Players feel safe talking to someone who appears to be a friend.