Overwatch League leaped into another milestone as Blizzard’s giant esport title enters a new broadcasting partnership with ABC, Disney, and ESPN.
Esports in mainstream media? Yes Please!
.@overwatchleague is coming to ESPN.
— ESPN Esports (@ESPN_Esports) July 11, 2018
The multi-year broadcast deal began with the Overwatch League playoffs, and it will also cover the Grand Finals of Season 1 to be held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York and the rest of the upcoming Season 2, as well as the much anticipated Overwatch World Cup.
All games will be broadcast on the flagship ESPN network, ESPN2, Disney XD, ABC and streaming services. The deal does not cancel current streaming deals – like Twitch.
A stronger partnership
President and CEO of Activision Blizzard esports Pete Vlastelica noted the significance of media partners for the league.
“Media partners are another very important partner in [the Overwatch League] ecosystem. ESPN is invested in the growth of the NBA and now we hope they are invested in the growth of our league. That’s what makes it a significant moment.”
Aside from live broadcast, the deal focuses on full replays and other digital rights that can possibly result for more content such as highlight packages and supplemental content that can cater a wider audience that includes non esport viewers.
“We are turning the corner here in terms of our interest and engagement in the esports category,” ESPN Vice President of Digital Media Programming John Lasker said. “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.”
— Disney XD (@DisneyXD) July 11, 2018
Apart from OWL, traditional media arm such as ESPN – which is under Disney already reached out towards esports before. ESPN already produces content for other titles such as Dota 2, League of Legends, Street Fighter V and Hearthstone.
“We’ve been in partnership with Blizzard for a long time, and we’re rather ecstatic about taking this significant step forward,” Lasker added.