The Overwatch League will be broadcast on ESPN and ABC

Lawrence Kim
July 12, 2018

The Overwatch League is coming to ESPN, and I'm not talking about The Ocho: Disney and Blizzard announced today that pro league action, including the season 1 finals and next year's season 2, will be broadcast "in some fashion" on the flagship network as well as ESPN2, Disney XD, and ABC.

Disney is the parent company of ESPN.

ESPN did not disclose the full terms of the deal.

The deal focuses on live and full replays of Overwatch matches, but also includes a larger group of digital rights that could allow for highlight packages for ESPN digital platforms and supplemental content catered toward fans less familiar with Overwatch esports.

The first day of the finals (Friday, July 27) will air on the main ESPN network at 7 p.m.

"It's a cross-section that's a hardcore sports fan, especially on ESPN channels", Pete Vlastelica, president and CEO of Activision Blizzard esports leagues, said.

The announcement continues a wave of growth for the burgeoning esports industry. More and more games are embracing competitive gaming and the formation of esports leagues. The Overwatch League Contenders Series was on Disney XD last summer as well. The buy-in for each of the first 12 franchises - which span the globe from Shanghai to Seoul, Los Angeles, Dallas, New York, Philadelphia, Boston and London - was $20 million. Major League Soccer announced plans for a league based around the EA Sports-produced Federation Internationale de Football Association series. Maybe they have played video games. The league plans to expand after its first season.

After a couple of years of preparation, Overwatch League began play in January with 12 teams representing different cities in the US, the United Kingdom, South Korea, and China, $20 million franchise fees, and ownership groups involving NFL figures like Robert Kraft and Stan Kroenke, plus Comcast and a Mets' sister company. The new deal with ESPN and Disney will not replace the league's deals with Twitch. After the first regular season ended, we discussed how the Overwatch League is changing the way we think about eSports, and it appears that those measures Blizzard took to make it stand out are paying off. "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".

ESPN has gained multi-year broadcast rights to one of the biggest esports properties out there.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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