One Further Step for eSports - Overwatch League
By Nick Licouris
In recent years, competitive video gaming, otherwise known as eSports, has taken large strides in securing a foothold in the average person’s everyday life. ESports has been making tremendous advances domestically and internationally in becoming the next big thing with 2018 being no exception. The newest eSports league, Blizzard Entertainment's Overwatch League, kicked off the year with its first season of play with over 400,000 viewers on twitch alone. The league is based off Blizzards newest first person hero-shooter game that they announced last year surpassed 35 million players.
There has been high anticipation for the Overwatch League since the first meeting of prospective owners after Blizzcon 2016. The league is comprised of 12 unique teams from across the world which with different management and sponsorships. It has attracted some of the biggest names in the traditional sport world such as Robert Kraft the owners of the New England Patriots, Stan Kroenke of the Los Angeles Rams and Comcast Spectator of the Philadelphia Flyers to name a few. According to reports, Blizzard set the cost of buying a franchise team at a one time cost of $20 million dollars.
Not only have traditional sport owners taken notice to the eSports as a whole but so have sponsors and streaming companies. Just before the launch of the new league, Blizzard announced a deal to give Twitch a 2 year exclusive streaming rights deal worth a estimated $90 million. This is the biggest content licensing deal in eSports history. If OWL has success in attractive viewers, this could create increased competition to rights to stream from Facebook, Google and Amazon.
Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch League has laid the ground work for organized eSports competition from scheduling of season games to buying franchises. This will open the doors for other companies such as Electronic Arts and Take Two Interactive to dive into the eSport world. Over the next years, eSports will continue to gain traction and push into a more mainstream sport.
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