The Overwatch League is coming to the ESPN, Disney and ABC families of networks, according to an announcement Wednesday from ESPN, Disney and Blizzard.
The multi-year deal will bring the Overwatch League playoffs, the OWL grand finals, the Overwatch World Cup and next year's Overwatch League Season 2 to the networks.
yowza, this is pretty huge. the overwatch league + overwatch league content will be broadcast on espn/abc networks starting todayhttps://t.co/HAhuFBmtbU— Nicole Carpenter (@sweetpotatoes) July 11, 2018
The competition will be broadcast in some fashion on the flagship ESPN network, ESPN2, Disney XD, ABC and streaming services, and does not cancel existing distribution agreements such as that with Twitch.
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.
The deal is part of a larger strategy by Blizzard and the networks to bring Overwatch to a wider audience. Each distribution point represents a different demographic that could be interested in Overwatch esports, from the hardcore sports fans of ESPN to the younger audience of Disney XD.
Since Overwatch League will be broadcast on ESPN and ESPN is owned by Disney that means Geguri is a Disney princess, sorry I don't make the rules— Hard Light Apple (@appleciderwitch) July 11, 2018
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. Disney XD has also broadcast its fair share of esports events, including last summer's Overwatch Contenders season and Smash 4's EVO 2017 finals.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The Overwatch broadcast begins Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on Disney XD and ESPN3.
Photo courtesy of Blizzard