Today Blizzard, ESPN, and Disney announced a multi-year broadcast deal to include the Overwatch League playoffs–beginning tonight 7/11.
It will cover this months Season One grand finals and then cover the Overwatch Leagues Season Two next year.
Esports is becoming bigger and bigger and Disney knows it. They will be broadcasting the Overwatch League games on their ESPN network, ESPN2, ESPN3, Disney XD, ABC and their streaming services. This new deal does not cancel any existing deal for broadcasting, like the broadcasts on Twitch.
John Lasker, ESPN Vice President of Digital Media Programming said:
We are turning the corner here in terms of our interest and engagement in the esports category. 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. 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.
This is great news for Blizzard, who’ve been trying to reach a wider audience with Overwatch e-gaming.
Pete Vlastelica, President and CEO of Activision Blizzard esports Leagues stated:
It’s a cross section that’s a hardcore sports fan, especially on ESPN channels. They love watching competition, they love watching the best in the world compete at a great game. Maybe they have played video games. Maybe they know of Overwatch. Maybe they even play Overwatch or play it a lot. But they’re fundamentally looking to be entertained by the highest possible level of competition around a great game. And that’s what we’ve got.
The Overwatch League began in January with 12 teams:
Dallas Fuel, London Spitfire, Seoul Dynasty, Shanghai Dragons, Los Angeles Gladiators, Houston Outlaws, Boston Uprising, Philadelphia Fusion, San Francisco Shock, Los Angeles Valiant, Florida Mayhem, and my son’s favorite the New York Excelsiors.
It started out as a competition at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank and they are hoping to move teams to their home cities to compete in “the first geolocated structured league in modern-day esports. Owners such as the Kraft Group and Stan Kroenke spent $20 million per team to reserve franchise spots last year, and an expansion is reportedly on the horizon.”
There is big money in esports! My son is all about online gaming and we’re very familiar with Overwatch!
Our son just did a video on the newest character Hammond/Wrecking Ball (a hamster and a robot) the other day!
For those interested in checking out the upcoming Overwatch League games here’s a schedule:
I’m excited to see where this leads, and I’m really excited that Disney is stepping into esports more, and I think it’s a really good move!
What do you think? Comment and let us know!
Source: My son, ESPN.com
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