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Overwatch players can now watch the Overwatch League on TV. Thanks to an agreement with Blizzard Entertainment, multiple networks across ESPN, Disney and ABC will broadcast the Overwatch League. This includes the flagship ESPN network, ESPN2, Disney XD, ABC and streaming services. This will be the very first time that professional Overwatch eSports will be available live on TV.
According to ESPN, the multi-year broadcast deal offers the Overwatch League playoffs, the Season 1 grand finals from the Barclays Center in New York next month, the Overwatch World Cup this fall and Overwatch League Season 2 next year. However, this doesn’t affect the Overwatch League’s live broadcasts on other streaming services like Twitch, so players will still able to enjoy them elsewhere if they wish.
ESPN Digital Media Programming Vice President John Lasker said: “We’ve had an interest and have been watching pretty closely how the first year of the Overwatch League has been progressing, and we’re really excited to be a part of this. Clearly, by the way, we’re going to be covering it starting with the playoffs and the finals this year certainly speaks volumes to our excitement and our enthusiasm overall for esports moving forward.”
The broadcast officially starts tonight at 8 p.m. ET on Disney XD and ESPN3. The first-ever TV live broadcast will feature the Philadelphia Fusion taking on the Boston Uprising in the first match of the Overwatch League quarterfinals. Live programming and highlights will not be the only content planned for broadcast. Viewers could also look forward to “supplemental content” geared toward those unfamiliar with the game itself.
This agreement between Blizzard Entertainment and networks will surely help distribute Overwatch to a wider demographic. Activision Blizzard eSports Leagues President and CEO Pete Vlastelica said that they are catering for those “looking to be entertained by the highest possible level of competition around a great game.”