Twitch and Activision Blizzard have announced a multi-year media rights partnership for the first two seasons of the just-launched Overwatch League. The third-party media rights deal is reportedly worth $90 million, according to SportsBusiness.
Twitch gets the exclusive
With the exception of in China, the deal makes Twitch the exclusive, global third-party streaming provider for the Overwatch League. This includes the regular season, the playoffs, and the championship matches.
The streams will be available in three languages: English, Korean, and French. According to the league’s press release, ZhanQi TV, NetEase CC, and Panda TV will take Twitch’s place in China.
“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 Blizzard Entertainment COO Armin Zerza. “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 deal also includes a variety of in-game rewards for fans using the Twitch platform, with details forthcoming.
“The Overwatch League is making a major impact on esports by reshaping the industry with city-based teams,” said Twitch COO Kevin Lin. “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.”
League debuted this week
The Overwatch League kicked things off on Jan. 10 at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California. The first season will feature 12 total teams from North America, Europe, and Asia:
- Boston Uprising (Kraft Group)
- Dallas Fuel (Team Envy)
- Florida Mayhem (Misfits)
- Houston Outlaws (OpTic Gaming)
- London Spitfire (Cloud9)
- Los Angeles Gladiators (Stan and Josh Kroenke)
- Los Angeles Valiant (Immortals)
- New York Excelsior (Jeff Wilpon and SterlingVC)
- Philadelphia Fusion (Comcast Spectacor)
- San Francisco Shock (NRG eSports)
- Seoul Dynasty (Kevin Chou)
- Shanghai Dragons (NetEase)
The teams and their ownership groups have reportedly paid $20 million for the rights to participate in the competition.
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“Connecting and engaging the world through epic entertainment is our mission,” Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. “The launch of the Overwatch League will provide our very best professional players the chance to inspire our engaged, connected audiences around the world.”
The new partnership is not the first between these two esports industry titans. Back in June, Twitch and Blizzard entered into an exclusive streaming deal for esports events. Clearly they’ve deemed that partnership smooth and successful enough to undertake this new one.