Overwatch championship to air in prime time on ESPN

Brunilde Fioravanti
Luglio 12, 2018

The network has done esports broadcasts in the past, from Heroes of the Dorm through the Street Fighter V World Championships and sports properties like Federation Internationale de Football Association and Madden, but corporate parent Disney's new deal with Activision Blizzard to pick up extensive rights to Overwatch League for the next several years feels like a big step. "And that's what we've got". After the first regular season ended, we discussed how the Overwatch League is changing the way we think about eSports, and it appears that those measures Blizzard took to make it stand out are paying off.

The deal focuses on live and full replays of Overwatch matches, but also includes a larger group of digital rights that could allow for highlight packages for ESPN digital platforms and supplemental content catered toward fans less familiar with Overwatch esports. "Clearly by the way we're going to be covering it starting with the playoffs and the finals this year certainly speaks volumes to our excitement and our enthusiasm overall for esports moving forward". The Grand Finals on July 27 will be shown live on ESPN, marking the first time the network will carry esports in prime time. The teams all compete from the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California, which was the home of the "Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson for 30 years. Activision sold 12 city-based franchises at $20 million each to investors including Comcast and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft for the inaugural season that started in January. Both ESPN and Disney have broadcasted eSports events before, but never in this capacity.

ESPN has broadcast esports several times over the past few years, including the Heroes of the Dorm collegiate competition (another Blizzard partnership), the Capcom Cup Street Fighter V finals and EVO 2017. The Overwatch League Contenders Series was on Disney XD last summer as well.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Blizzard agrees, and compares their relationship to the ones ESPN enjoys with other major sports leagues. ESPN is invested in the growth of the National Basketball Association and now we hope they are invested in the growth of our league.

Disney is the parent company of ESPN. The full broadcast schedule is below.

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