It’s been reported that the value of the Twitch-Overwatch League deal has set a new esports record.
It has been clear since the reveal that OWL buy-ins would be $20million that Blizzard aren’t messing around with their flagship esports project. Whatever you think about the real value or potential of the league, it’s clear that Blizzard are only interested in partnering with those willing to go all-in on the venture.
It perhaps comes as little surprise, then, that the scale of the broadcast deal for the Overwatch League should be similarly massive.
It was announced on January 9th
that Blizzard had come to an exclusive deal with Twitch for the first two years of the Overwatch League. Shortly after, it was reported by SportsBusinessDaily that the deal was worth $90million, making it the largest per-year sum for exclusive distribution in esports history.
Inevitably, the Overwatch League has frequently been compared to Riot Games’ North American LCS, which is also moving to a franchise system for the 2018 season. Once again, that obvious rival offers the closest comparison to the figure of the Twitch/Overwatch League deal, which recalls the seven-year, $300million deal struck in 2016 between Riot Games and BAMTech.
SportsBusinessDaily reported that the $90million deal might include agreements between Twitch and Blizzard beyond the Overwatch League, although it has to be assumed that Blizzard’s premium product is largely responsible for the size of the figure.
All Overwatch League games will now be broadcast on twitch.tv/overwatchleague. The OWL kicks off on January 10th
, with matches taking place every Wednesday through Saturday within each stage of the league.