Overwatch League Coming To ESPN, Disney, & ABC Networks In Broadcast Deal

This signals ESPN 'turning the corner' on esports interest and engagement.

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Today is another major point in the growth of esports as one of the most visible and popular platforms hits the big time. Blizzard Entertainment announced today that Overwatch League will be broadcast on ESPN, Disney XD, ESPN 2, ABC, and streaming services courtesy of multi-year broadcast deal. The multi-year deal includes the playoffs, finals, and next season. 

"We are turning the corner here in terms of our interest and engagement in the esports category," ESPN Vice President of Digital Media Programming John Lasker said on the website's story. "We've had an interest and have been watching pretty closely how the first year of the Overwatch League has been progressing, and we're really excited to be a part of this. 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."

As detailed in the report, the deal focusing on live broadcasts and replays but there are digital rights that ESPN may take advantage of for highlight packages on digital platforms.

"It's a cross-section that's a hardcore sports fan, especially on ESPN channels," Pete Vlastelica, president and CEO of Activision Blizzard esports leagues, said. "They love watching competition, they love watching the best in the world compete at a great game. Maybe they have played video games. Maybe they know of Overwatch. Maybe they even play Overwatch or play it a lot. But 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 an exciting expansion of the relationship between Blizzard and ESPN, who team up for the Heroes of the Dorm events, and stands as a pivotal moment for the esports industry. Stay tuned to Shacknews for additional updates and follow our regular esports coverage on the website's landing page.

Charles Singletary Jr keeps the updates flowing as the News Editor, breaking stories while investigating the biggest topics in gaming and technology. He's pretty active on Twitter, so feel free to reach out to him @The_CSJR. Got a hot tip? Email him at Charles.Singletary@Shacknews.com.

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