The broadcast deal kicks off tonight and will feature the first ever Overwatch League playoff game between the Boston Uprising and Philadelphia Fusion. From there the deal includes the rest of this year’s playoffs, the upcoming Grand Finals in New York City, as well as Season Two of the Overwatch League. The games will be broadcast on a variety of networks including ESPN, ESPN 2, ABC, Disney XD as well as the companies streaming services.
While no specifics were disclosed, the deal will amount to hundreds of hours of live and prerecorded Overwatch League action. The deal doesn’t cancel out the previous broadcast agreement that the Overwatch League made with streaming service Twitch. According to Activision Blizzard’s CEO Pete Vlastica, the new deal is all about getting new viewers to watch the Overwatch League.
“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.”
On the ESPN side, Vice President of Digital Programming, John Lasker, says that the move is one that the company is extremely excited about and one that they’ve put a lot of thought into.
“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 isn’t the first time that ESPN and Activision Blizzard have partnered up, as last Summer’s Overwatch Contenders series was broadcast on Disney XD. That being said, this is the first time that a multi-year agreement has been made.
The playoffs kick off tonight at 8:00 PM EST on Disney XD and ESPN 3.
Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out the article on Whether the Overwatch League Can Survive Expansion and our Interview with Overwatch Voice Actress Lucie Pohl.
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