Overwatch League gets ESPN and Disney XD television contract

Count this as a huge victory for Blizzard’s attempt to legitimize and popularize its fledgling Overwatch League.

The studio announced this week that it has signed a deal with both ESPN and Disney XD to exclusively televise Overwatch League games for the next two years. The coverage began yesterday with the League’s first season playoffs and will continue through the grand finals later this month. In fact, Blizzard is touting the fact that Overwatch will be the first e-sports championship broadcast ever on ABC.

“We are pleased to partner with Activision Blizzard to bring Overwatch e-sports to our audience,” said Disney XD Senior Vice President Marc Buhaj. “The Blizzard team has created a genre-leading esport and a premium professional franchise system in the Overwatch League. We are kicking off the agreement by showcasing the inaugural season playoffs and Grand Finals live across our linear footprint. Together with our telecast partners at ESPN, we look forward to growing a legion of new Overwatch fans across the next two years.”

Source: Press release
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11 Comments on "Overwatch League gets ESPN and Disney XD television contract"

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flyingltj
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flyingltj

I still don’t care about esports.

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Armsbend

I watched their league last night for the first time in a long time. And while I still don’t think OW streams as good as other genres – without a doubt the game has the most professional looking setup. No other game even comes close. It feels like a real network broadcast. Even the commercials are high quality, nationally known companies (I saw Cheez-It [yum!] and Gillette[I know the owner has a team]) instead of your regular gamer headset fare.

Cyclone Jack
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Cyclone Jack

Have they changed how this is viewed by the audience? Also, until they add a ban/pick phase, eliminate mid-game hero changing, and have players use their selected character for both the offense and defense, I just can’t see this becoming interesting to watch.

That said, I’m glad to see them getting additional coverage, and anything pushing eSports forward is good news in my book, even if its something I’m not particularly interested in.

borghive
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borghive

They are pushing WoW into e-sports as well. Sad day.

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Weilan

Funny, the game looks like it was made by Disney. xD

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Bruno Brito

HotS tried that, and Blizzard actually took off the minimap.

That tournament was terrible.

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Robert Mann

It’s TV. There’s worse (language and general idiocy that comes out), far more boring (some drying paint and grass growing hype-generating stuff), and even more “Why?” things than e-sports on 24/7.

If they believe there is a profit in showing it, they will show it.

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Peter Couse

Well ESPN televises the Cornhole Championships (yeah I had to do a double take too) on their flagship station so why not this?

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Cinaminson

That’s cool. Will it still be airing on Twitch?

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BalsBigBrother

I think they signed a two year deal with twitch back in January so it will still be on twitch through till the end of 2019 at least.

I am not sure of the exclusivity part mentioned in this article and I seem to recall the same language being used with the twitch deal even though MLG are also broadcasting the matches.

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BDJ

If they went away from twitch, it would be the death of the league. I really don’t see them pulling it.