The two-year deal with Twitch gives the platform exclusive worldwide rights to all the matches, which will be streamed in English, Korean and French. Preseason matches were broadcast exclusively on MLG-which has not offered any viewership statistics-but the regular season matches that begin tomorrow will be the first to stream on Twitch.
The only other eSports deal comparable in size is one signed in late 2016 between streamer BAMTech and Riot Games, the publisher of the popular League of Legends franchise.
It expands on an agreement between Twitch and Blizzard signed a year ago that gave the streaming service rights to esports tournaments for games such as Starcraft, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm. Overwatch, meanwhile, has more than 35 million registered members. However, the matches taking place in China will not be broadcast through Twitch.
So fans of Blizzard's multiplayer hero-shooter will be able to follow every moment of the inaugural season of the game's professional league. It's unclear how much of the $90 million Twitch is paying Blizzard is going towards OWL streaming, or what else would be included in the contract. The deal, announced yesterday, is believed to be the biggest exclusive distribution deal in esports history.
Sports Business Daily report the deal is worth $90m, a substantial chunk of change, although their sources claim this may not all be tied up in broadcasting the Overwatch League, but could speak of further collaboration between the two companies under the same deal. Viewers will also be able to earn rewards for watching, including in-game items.