In what's most certainly one of the brightest moments in terms of recent esports developments, Blizzard Entertainment's Overwatch League will be coming to ESPN, Disney and ABC, starting with the playoffs that begin on Wednesday night.
Being a multi year deal, this includes the entirety of Season 1, grand finals in New York included, and Season 2. It will not be affecting any current deals that may be in place, such as Twitch broadcasting.
We're looking at plenty of live footage as well as highlights on one of the most credible and prominent sports networks, which really shows plenty of intent on Blizzard's behalf. Indeed, the company has offloaded plenty of dough to bring the OWL where it is today, but that was obviously just the tip of the iceberg.
ESPN vice president of digital media programming John Lasker said that his company have been monitoring the OWL's progress, deciding they want to join in on the fun. Seeing as how OWL's playoffs start on Wednesday, they weren't wasting any time either.
The deal will include Overwatch live shows, replays, recap shows on ABC and a bunch of other stuff, which will be revealed at a later date. For starters, it has been mentioned that there will be additional content for users who may not be as familiar with the game, which may provide a unique platform to familiarise complete non gamers with Blizzard's co-op shooter.
Blizzard's head esports honcho Pete Vlastelica said that hard core fans love watching the best compete at a great game, which they'll find Overwatch to be. "They're fundamentally looking to be entertained by the highest possible level of competition around a great game. And that's what we've got."
This is not the first time Overwatch has actually appeared on either of the three channels, since Blizzard has been working with ESPN for a while. However, this is Overwatch's first official long term deal so we guess it's time to get ready for hybrid sports channels soon. Not that we'd mind.
You can find ESPN and Blizzard's announcement here.