Blizzard Entertainment Inks Deal to Televise Overwatch League on ESPN, Disney XD
ESPN, Disney XD, and Blizzard Entertainment announced an exclusive multiyear agreement for live television coverage of the Overwatch League, the world’s first major global city-based esports league.
Beginning with Overwatch League playoff coverage on Wednesday, July 11 across both networks, the 2017–2018 Overwatch League inaugural season concludes with the Grand Finals live from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on ESPN and Disney XD July 27–28. All coverage also will be available for ESPN and Disney network subscribers to stream live on the ESPN App and DisneyNOW. To round out the 2018 Grand Finals coverage, a recap show highlighting the biggest moments will air July 29 on ABC. The Grand Finals telecast on ESPN marks the first time live competitive gaming has aired on the flagship network in primetime, and will be the first broadcast of an esports championship 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,” says Justin Connolly, Executive Vice President, 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.”
“We are pleased to partner with Activision Blizzard to bring Overwatch esports to our audience. The Blizzard team has created a genre-leading esport and a premium professional franchise system in the Overwatch League,” says Marc Buhaj, Senior Vice President, Programming and General Manager, Disney XD. “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.”
“We’re excited to be working with ESPN and DisneyXD to bring Overwatch esports to an even wider audience,” says 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.”
The inaugural season of the Overwatch League will culminate in the Grand Finals, the ultimate showdown for the championship: the first team to win two best-of-five matches at Barclays Center will take home the Overwatch League trophy and the lion’s share of the $1.4 million Grand Finals prize pool. Play begins Friday, July 27 at 7 p.m. EDT with the first best-of-five match on ESPN, and continues Saturday, July 28 at 4:30 p.m. EDT with the second and potential third series on Disney XD. This broadcast will air alongside the primary digital viewing experience on Twitch, with the Overwatch League also available via MLG.com. A re-air of day two Grand Finals play will be available on ESPN2 at 9 p.m. EDT. In addition, a recap show of highlights from the Grand Finals will air Sunday, July 29 at 3 p.m. EDT on ABC.