Late on Tuesday, Blizzard announced a two year streaming deal between Twitch and Blizzard’s Overwatch League that will see every match broadcast on Twitch’s streaming platform.
The league, which kicks off on Wednesday 10 January, will be broadcast from Twitch.tv/overwatchleague, with Twitch becoming the third-party streaming provider for Overwatch League’s regular season, playoffs and championship matches, with streams taking place in English, Korean and French. The deal gives Twitch the exclusive worldwide rights, except in China.
Twitch and Blizzard will be creating "innovative rewards" for fans, although the press release only mentions that the league’s "most steadfast viewers" will be rewarded with in-game items, with further details available as items appear.
“Our fans love to engage with content on Twitch, and we wanted to drive significant viewership of the Overwatch League in its inaugural season and beyond,” said Armin Zerza, COO of Blizzard Entertainment. “That’s why this historic and ground-breaking partnership is perfectly suited for Activision Blizzard, for Twitch, and—most importantly—for our growing global fanbase.”
“The Overwatch League is making a major impact on esports by reshaping the industry with city-based teams,” added Kevin Lin, Twitch COO. “Given Overwatch’s consistent reign as a top-viewed game by our community, we look forward to offering their pioneering style of league play to a large and passionate fanbase that will be able to bond over not only their favorite plays, but hometown pride.”
Speaking as a Londoner, it’s tough to feel too much pride in our local team, London Spitfire, when the team are based just outside of Los Angeles, and are Korean in their entirety.
Blizzard have hinted at the team being more available on their home turf in future seasons, which should help with the disconnect fans of the three teams not based in North America: Seoul, Shanghai and London.
Sports Business Daily report the deal is worth $90m, a substantial chunk of change, although their sources claim this may not all be tied up in broadcasting the Overwatch League, but could speak of further collaboration between the two companies under the same deal.