SBD/January 9, 2018/Media

Overwatch League Signs Two-Year Deal With Twitch For Streaming Rights To Matches

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Twitch has acquired the streaming rights to the Overwatch League in a two-year deal a top league official says “values our content at an unprecedented level for esports.” Twitch will show six out of 12 weekly matches exclusively during the season, with the remainder also being simulcast on Overwatch publisher Activision Blizzard's owned platform, MLG.tv. Twitch will stream in English, French and Korean, and it also will have global exclusivity outside of China. Twitch paid an unknown rights fee for the content. The deal marks the most prominent exclusive third-party distribution deal in the esports industry, where most properties still prioritize maximum distribution over monetizing exclusivity. “I do think it’s a landmark deal," said Major League Gaming President & CEO Pete Vlastelica, whose company is operating the league for parent Activision Blizzard. "I think it really establishes a value around our rights and maybe professional esports content rights in general that’s unprecedented." The Overwatch League kicks off play tomorrow night in L.A. As the season approached, at least one team owner expressed concern over the lack of a media deal for the league. Vlastelica declined to say exactly when the contract was signed, only saying it happened "recently" and before the season started as promised. Twitch will also develop OWL shoulder programming and a reward program for regular Overwatch League viewers.

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