Thanks to a deal between ESPN and Activision Blizzard, the Overwatch eSports league is now hitting primetime TV.
Activision Blizzard has just signed over the TV rights for the Overwatch league to ESPN. They will broadcast this year’s Overwatch League tournament, which began July 11 and will wrap up July 28 from Barclays Center in New York. Disney, which owns ESPN, is broadcasting the tournament on ABC, ESPN 2 and Disney XD.
eSports = Sports
This is a landmark event for the legitimization of eSports, which is reportedly being considered by the International Olympic Committee to be added to the Olympics. eSports events draw big crowds and offer fabulous prizes; the prize pool for this year’s Overwatch tournament is a whopping $1.7 million. eSports, like the entirety of the video gaming industry, have often drawn ire for being taken so seriously despite not being “real” sports. But with that much money on the line, it’s pretty real, and Disney thinks so, too.
The deal with ESPN will last multiple years and marks the first time eSports will be broadcast during primetime.