Multi-year broadcast deal brings Overwatch League to the masses

12 Juillet, 2018, 08:49 | Auteur: Christine Menetries
  • Attendees play Activision Blizzard's Overwatch computer game at the AOC Open esports event in Tokyo Japan on Saturday

Blizzard and Disney are partnering up to bring the Overwatch League to Disney's stable of channels including ESPN, ESPN 2, ABC and Disney XD, all considered "traditional TV channels".

The Overwatch League is coming to the ESPN, Disney and ABC families of networks, according to an announcement Wednesday from ESPN, Disney and Blizzard.

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Live coverage of the Overwatch League playoffs begins tonight at 8 p.m. on Disney XD and ESPN3 as the Boston Uprising take on the Philadelphia Fusion in the first round of the quarterfinals. On Wednesday morning, ESPN reported that the League will be broadcast on ESPN, Disney, and ABC as well as their corresponding digital platforms. The broadcasts so far have been on Twitch and (the Activision Blizzard-owned) Major League Gaming's mlg.tv, and they've drawn excellent numbers, including a per-minute audience of 408,000 viewers for opening day (above Amazon's Thursday Night Football streaming numbers, albeit with some caveats) and over 10 million unique users across the first week. Twitch purchased streaming rights just before its first matches for $90 million over two years, and the league's channel has had more than 107 million total views. "We've had an interest and have been watching pretty closely how the first year of the Overwatch League has been progressing, and we're really excited to be a part of this". ESPN revealed that Lasker plans to take full advantage of a "full swath of digital rights" that may lead to supplemental coverage and programming aimed at non-gamers or people unfamiliar with Overwatch. "Clearly by the way we're going to be covering it starting with the playoffs and the finals this year certainly speaks volumes to our excitement and our enthusiasm overall for esports moving forward". Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, although it at least will extend into the league's 2019 season as well. "That's what makes it a significant moment", Pete Vlastelica, President and CEO of Activision Blizzard esports leagues said in a statement to ESPN. "We've seen incredible passion and support from fans during the inaugural season of the Overwatch League, and we're looking forward to capping it off for them with an epic Grand Finals at Barclays Center later this month". While not all of us have the same interests within this hobby/craft, the prosperity of video games (in nearly any facet) is a win for all of us.

ESPN, and parent company Disney, are no stranger to esports.

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