While Call of Duty fans awaited the announcement about where they could find the new franchise league being streamed, Activision Blizzard announced that it would be tying CoD, Hearthstone, and the Overwatch League together and handing the broadcast rights off to YouTube.
Seeing as fans have come to expect the games to be shown on Twitch, it represents a pretty significant change for the league ahead of its third season of competition. The original Overwatch League rights deal with Twitch was signed for two-years, and reportedly cost the Amazon-owned platform around $90 million, but nothing outside a “multi-year” agreement has been announced for YouTube.
However, while some may see it as a fresh start for the league, not everyone is all that positive. That includes Dafran who, during his January 26 stream, explained that the switch could have a devastating effect on the OWL.
Responding to questions from his viewers about the switch, Dafran said: “Dude, we might get surprised – that’s a lot of normies on YouTube. Dude, there's also a big chance that Overwatch League is just gonna die completely. I guess that’s a big chance, yeah, Overwatch League might just completely die dude. And when I mean dead, I mean 50k viewers.”
Yet, the popular Overwatch streamer wasn’t finished there, explaining his thoughts further on the matter as he waited for another match to get underway.
“It’s a scary time for Overwatch League dude, with the move to YouTube is just, dude, MonkaS,” he said. “MonkaS dude. We’ll see.” (MonkaS is a Twitch emote of a worried looking Pepe the Frog.)
Of course, no one knows what the effect that the switch to YouTube will have on Blizzard’s established league until it happens and fans make up their mind on the change.
As for the Call of Duty League, YouTube's head of Gaming, Ryan Wyatt, was quite pleased with the viewing figures on day one, which peaked at just under 90,000 viewers, an improvement on day one of the 2019 season.
A fantastic start to CDL from a viewership perspective.
Day 1 of CWL peaked at 57,823 last year.
Day 1 of @CODLeague peaked at 86,204 live concurrents on @YouTubeGaming.
Catch all the action at: https://t.co/pbUuDZEY1v pic.twitter.com/t6Flm4DXoY
— Ryan Wyatt (@Fwiz) January 25, 2020
For the Overwatch League, the switch to YouTube could very well breathe new life into the league or, as Dafran says, it could die off completely. We’ll just have to wait and see once February 8 rolls around.