Major Blizzard events streamed only via Twitch
With the deal, Twitch ensures Blizzard’s major esports event streams will be available only on its platform. These competitions include the Overwatch APEX League and Premier Series, Heroes of the Storm Global Championship, Hearthstone Championship Tour (including the World Championship) and Global Games, the World of Warcraft Arena Championship, and the StarCraft II World Championship Series.
With esports audiences growing steadily, this move keeps Twitch at the top of the heap. Exclusive streaming rights mean new fan acquisition will likely follow. And with all the novelties Twitch has rolled out during the last couple years, these fans are likely to stay aboard for more content.
“We’ve had great experiences and a long history of working with Twitch, and we’re thrilled that this landmark agreement with them will help us bring some of the most exciting esports action in the world to Twitch fans and everyone who follows Blizzard esports,” said Blizzard Entertainment co-founder and Chief Product Officer Frank Pierce.
To sweeten the deal, Blizzard will also reward Twitch Prime customers with in-game content for Overwatch, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm.
Twitch looks to maintain its supremacy
As the industry becomes more lucrative, more companies are entering the market, and digital giants like YouTube and Facebook are looking for ways to secure their own market shares.
Twitch recently lost the CS:GO ESL Pro League and ECS League streaming rights to YouTube. Moreover, with Facebook and ESL striking a coverage deal, Twitch is losing some desirable content to competitors.
The Blizzard deal is Twitch’s way of fighting back. The Amazon-owned company is continuously looking for ways to keep strong standing in the market, and licensing content is one method.
Harsh competition in the streaming landscape
While increased competition between providers should be positive news for fans, the companies will, on the other hand, have to put in extra effort to attract esports fans with exclusive deals. And YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch are not the only players.
California-based Azubu has been making moves to attract esports fans. ESforce Holding, a Russian giant, is also entering the market with its new streaming platform. With an audience of more than 54 million fans and 180 social pages that cover about 80 percent of the market in Russia and the CIS region, the company has excellent groundwork to launch its own streaming service.
On top of all that, Chinese companies like DouyuTV and PandaTV are also gaining prominence in the streaming world, and they’re catering to a massive Asian fan base.
For now, we can just sit back, watch the action unfold, and enjoy the show.