ESPN and Disney announced a deal with Blizzard Entertainment to televise the Overwatch League, a global city-based eSports league.
The move reflects the growing TV interest in eSports, in which people watch experts play video games. Overwatch is a team-based, multiplayer, first-person shooter video game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment, a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard.
“We’re excited to be working with ESPN and DisneyXD to bring Overwatch eSports to an even wider audience,” said Pete Vlastelica, president and CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues. “We’ve seen incredible passion and support from fans during the inaugural season of the Overwatch League, and we’re looking forward to capping it off for them with an epic Grand Finals at Barclays Center later this month.”
Coverage of the Overwatch League begins Wednesday (July 11) on both networks. The Grand Finals will take place at the Barclays Center in Brookyln, N.Y., and appear on both ESPN and Disney XD. The finals will also be streamed on the ESPN app and DisneyNow.
A recap show highlighting the biggest moments of the season will air July 29 on ABC.
"The Overwatch League Grand Finals is by far our most comprehensive television distribution for an eSports event over a single weekend: 10 total hours over four networks and three days,” said Justin Connolly, executive VP, affiliate sales and marketing, Disney and ESPN Media Networks. “This overall collaboration with Disney/ABC, ESPN and Blizzard represents our continued commitment to eSports, and we look forward to providing marquee Overwatch League coverage across our television platforms for fans.”
Marc Buhaj, senior VP, programming and general manager, Disney XD, added: “We are kicking off the agreement by showcasing the inaugural season playoffs and Grand Finals live across our linear footprint. Together with our telecast partners at ESPN, we look forward to growing a legion of new Overwatch fans across the next two years.”