Blizzard has agreed a two-year streaming rights deal with Twitch to allow the platform to broadcast the Overwatch League. Sports Business Journal reports the value of this deal to be at least $90M.
The deal will make Twitch the exclusive third-party provider of the Overwatch League, an embedded player for which will feature on the official overwatchleague.com website. Streams will be available in English, Korean and French languages for all regions apart from China. Twitch is expected to provider viewer incentives to watch the stream and are working with Blizzard to develop exclusive in-game items to be distributed as rewards. Custom Twitch emotes will also be available.
This news will prompt considerable relief amongst the community, as the decision to broadcast the OWL’s preseason only on MLG.tv came as something of an unpleasant surprise for many fans. Viewers have come to expect major Blizzard tournaments to be broadcast on Twitch, and since Overwatch League has been hyped up as the biggest esports league in history it was widely expected to be watchable on the platform. This deal represents a return to normality in that regard.
In related news, Blizzard yesterday dropped a huge new Overwatch update to celebrate the launch of the league. The patch features 312 new skins, all of which are themed around the teams participating in Overwatch League, and a new currency system – League Tokens – to purchase them. One hundred of these tokens will be granted to players for free initially, but further tokens will cost real money to purchase.
You can watch the opening day of Overwatch League at overwatchleague.com. The opening match will be between San Francisco Shock and Los Angeles Valiant.