It’s been reported that Twitch, who recently announced an exclusivity deal for the Overwatch League, paid a whole bunch of money for the privilege.
The Overwatch League is kicking off today, and there is a lot riding on it. It’s almost certainly one of the most ambitious and expensive esports ventures ever, and a lot of very rich people have put in a lot of money in the hope it really kicks off. One such entity to buy in are Twitch who have a multi-year deal to broadcast the games exclusively.
According to Sports Business Daily, the exclusivity deal is one of, if not the largest esports deals in history as the streaming company brought in for $90 million. This will seemingly be for two years, which really does seem extremely large.
This is obviously a huge boost of income for the League. There were worries that revenue might be hard to come by for the league, with the first season at least only taking place in a 450 seater arena, but it is clear the venture is pulling in big capital from other high places. Of course, the $5 skins put into the game yesterday are bound to generate a bunch of money, too.
There is certainly a big risk in all of this. The league is basically untested and the goalposts to start making it profitable seem high. That being said, none of that really matters for us the viewers. If you watched the pre-season, you know the production value is there. You can see all that money on screen, so I for one am going to just be enjoying all the money being thrown at the screen.
Blizzard responded to this story with the following statement:
There’s been some confusion about the scope and parameters of the Twitch deal, so I wanted to share a note to help clarify. For the first two seasons, Twitch is Overwatch League’s exclusive third-party streaming provider, with the exception of China. We’ll still be showing Overwatch League matches on our owned-and-operated channels, which include MLG.com, the MLG app, OverwatchLeague.com and the Overwatch League app. Also, we haven’t announced any broadcast partners for Overwatch League matches on linear television, so it’s not accurate to say Twitch is the ‘exclusive broadcast partner’ of Overwatch League.
We announced that ZhanQi TV, NetEase CC, and Panda TV are expected to be the official broadcasting platforms of the Overwatch League in China, providing livestreams, VODs, feature programs, and other exciting esports content to Chinese audiences.