Overwatch League is Blizzard’s big esports initiative for its popular team-based shooter. It takes a page from traditional sports by having teams based in cities, such as Seoul, Dallas, Boston, and London. Overwatch League’s first week, which took place at the start of the year, drew 10 million viewers. Blizzard has noted that viewership has grown from there.
So far, Overwatch League has stuck with streaming services and sites like Twitch and MLG. Expanding to traditional TV could help expand its audience. The multiyear broadcast deal starts with Overwatch League playoffs, which start today. The deal also includes this fall’s finals and next year’s Overwatch League Season 2.
We’ve seen Overwatch esports on TV before, but this is the first time Overwatch League will be on TV. Blizzard has shown other esports competition on channels like ESPN and ESPN 2 before, including tournaments for StarCraft 2 and Heroes of the Storm.
Overwatch launched in May 2016 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. It has reached over 40 million players. Overwatch League competitors use the PC version.