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Overwatch League and Twitch Sign Exclusive Media Right
Overwatch League has reportedly signed a multi-year exclusive media right with Twitch. Prior to the inaugural season, the preseason matches were broadcast within OWL official site through MLG Network, Activision-Blizzard’s esports arm responsible for OWL production and marketing task. The initial move by Blizzard prompted some questioning by fans for not casting the games on Twitch which is by far more popular and accessible for esports streaming.
Rumors of Twitch partnership for broadcast right came true few days ago as the Overwatch League will officially broadcast on OverwatchLeague Twitch channel. The rights include a 2-year deal whereby Twitch will be the exclusive third-party for global OWL broadcast with exception of China. The partnership also include upcoming rewards for fans watching such as time-limited OWL Cheermotes for Cheering during the matches.
“Our fans love to engage with content on Twitch, and we wanted to drive significant viewership of the Overwatch League in its inaugural season and beyond,” said Armin Zerza, COO of Blizzard Entertainment. “That’s why this historic and ground-breaking partnership is perfectly suited for Activision Blizzard, for Twitch, and—most importantly—for our growing global fanbase.”
“The Overwatch League is making a major impact on esports by reshaping the industry with city-based teams,” said Kevin Lin, COO of Twitch. “Given Overwatch’s consistent reign as a top-viewed game by our community, we look forward to offering their pioneering style of league play to a large and passionate fanbase that will be able to bond over not only their favorite plays, but hometown pride.”
So far, the deal has been looking good for OWL viewership count. First day matches ticked 300k-400k of concurrent viewers at any time. The stable viewership hopefully sustain around 100k minimum as the season goes on. Having a regular high-tier Overwatch tournament broadcast is definitely beneficial for both professional players and fans alike similar to traditional sports league like NFL, NBA and EPL instead of irregular and intermittent events which plagued budding esports games from growing.
Catch Overwatch League on Twitch from Thursday-Sunday (GMT +8) each week and root for your favorite teams battle to obtain the title of best Overwatch team in the world. Match schedule can be found here and automatically adjusted to your timezone.
Rumor time: Possible Overwatch League tokens reward for watching the match similar to CS:GO case drops. As your Battle.net account can be linked with Twitch account, this is not a far-fetched idea to implement a similar reward system. Plus, the tokens are in multiples of 100’s instead of single tokens per skin which means fractions of it can be obtained, for example reward drops. Time will tell whether it’s true or not. Of course buying the tokens will benefit the teams and OWL production directly, but the cost may be a bit injustifiable for fans in countries with expensive US Dollar exchange rate. Watching the matches is one way to support the team and the League non-monetarily and rewards like the tokens will definitely sustain viewership and keep fans motivated to keep watching.