Activision Blizzard and Twitch have completed a two-year, $90 million-minimum deal to stream both Season 1 and 2 of the Overwatch League on Twitch, as first reported by the SportsBusiness Journal and confirmed by ESPN.
Activision Blizzard confirmed the broadcasting rights deal on Tuesday at their media day in Universal City, Calif, but did not comment on the specific terms of the agreement.
Twitch will serve as the exclusive third-party streaming partner for the league's regular season, playoffs and championships in three different languages: English, Korean and French. Sources familiar with Blizzard's plans told ESPN the league has signed a deal with another Chinese broadcaster, but the partner was not specified and Activision Blizzard did not announce that on Tuesday. Activision Blizzard will simulcast six games per week on MLG, the Twitch competitor that it acquired for a reported $46 million in 2016.
"The Overwatch League is making a major impact on esports by reshaping the industry with city-based teams," said Twitch chief operating officer Kevin Lin said in a press release. "Given Overwatch's consistent reign as a top viewed game by our community, we look forward to offering their pioneering style of league play to a large and passionate fanbase that will be able to bond over not only their favorite plays, but hometown pride."
The deal will also feature a number of in-game item exclusives and rewards for fans using the Twitch platform. Blizzard Entertainment has previously done a similar rewards system for Twitch Prime customers in its card game title Hearthstone. Activision Blizzard stated it will announce more details around these in-game rewards in the future.
The Overwatch League is set to launch on Wednesday, Jan. 10 at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, Calif. The league features 12 geolocated teams across North America and parts of Europe and Asia. Activision Blizzard, its CEO Bobby Kotick and other staffers who it hired from traditional sports recruited its ownership for the league throughout 2017. Commitments came from the likes of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke and others, each who agreed to the $20 million in franchise fees throughout the next few years.
Future seasons of the league, although currently not specified as to when, will move to arenas in the home cities of each team. Among those, the Los Angeles Valiant announced on Tuesday that it will compete at the Microsoft Theater in LA Live starting in Season 3, which is owned by one of its investor groups, Anschutz Entertainment Group. The Valiant are the first team to commit to a home venue.