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Overwatch League, Call of Duty League Set YouTube As New Streaming Home

January 28, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Overwatch League Fusion Reinhardt

Blizzard has made a big move in terms of its esports broadcasting, setting YouTube as the home for Overwatch League, Call of Duty League, Hearthstone Esports and more. Activision Blizzard and Google announced over the weekend that they’ve entered into a multi-year strategic partnership, with Google Cloud serving as the preferred provider for Blizzard’s game hosting information and YouTube as the exclusive streaming partner for all live broadcasts (excluding China) for its esports leagues and events.

The move is a big change for Blizzard, who signed a two-year deal in 2018 with Twitch ahead of the first season of Overwatch League that was worth $90 million. While terms of the Google deal were not disclosed, Sports Business Journal’s Adam Stern reported that the deal means a “much better” financial situation for Overwatch League teams than the Twitch deal. ESPN’s Jacob Wolf added that Google is paying for the rights “and that part of the deal is financially significant,” though Activision Blizzard will pay from their non-esports budget for the game hosting.

The weekend saw the first utilization of the deal, with the launch of Call of Duty League on YouTube. The first three days of the League saw viewing numbers at 822,000, 941,000 and 935,000, respectively as of the end of the weekend. Overwatch League kicks off its 2020 season through YouTube on February 8th.

“With more than 200 million gamers a day watching more than 50 billion hours of gaming content per year, YouTube provides gamers and their passionate fans with the most popular video gaming platform in the world,” said Ryan Wyatt, Head of Gaming, YouTube. “Both the Overwatch League and Call of Duty League are the quintessential examples of world class esports content. As a former Call of Duty esports commentator myself, I couldn’t be more excited for Activision Blizzard to choose YouTube as its exclusive home for the digital live streaming of both leagues. This partnership further demonstrates our dedication to having a world class live streaming product for gaming.”

“This is an exciting year for Activision Blizzard Esports as we head into the inaugural season of Call of Duty League and our first ever season of homestands for Overwatch League all around the world,” said Pete Vlastelica, CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports. “It’s our mission to deliver high-quality competitive entertainment that our fans can follow globally, live or on-demand, and to celebrate our players as the superstars that they are. This partnership will help us deliver on that promise at new levels, by combining our passionate communities of fans and players with YouTube’s powerful content platform and exciting history of supporting next-generation entertainment.”