Blizzard Entertainment has announced a broadcast deal for Overwatch League with Disney, bringing league broadcasts to Disney, ESPN, and ABC networks.
The deal has already started and is a multi-year contract, with league matches set to be broadcast on ESPN, Disney XD, and ABC.
The Season 1 quarterfinal matches will be the first matches to air live, broadcasting on Disney XD and ESPN3. The upcoming semifinals and finals will also be broadcast live, and the deal includes rights to recaps and potential supplementary content that has yet to be detailed.
Overwatch League Commissioner Nate Nanzer has previously outlined Blizzard’s strategy to bring professional esports to a wider audience. This new television deal will bring Blizzard nearer to achieving this goal by airing games on mainstream television channels.
The new deal will not only increase ease of access to Overwatch League content, but has the potential to bring in an entirely new audience. According to ESPN Vice President of Digital Media Programming John Lasker, the deal includes a broad scope of rights that ESPN “plan to take full advantage of.”
With both the Heroes of the Dorm competition and the Overwatch League Contenders series having previously aired on ESPN and Disney XD respectively, this isn’t the first time that Disney and Blizzard have worked together. However, it is the first time that such a large deal including access to so many networks and over such a number of years has been made.
The Overwatch League Season 1 Playoffs will debut on Disney XD on July 11th. The semifinals will broadcast on July 18th on the same channel, while the finals will air on July 27th on ESPN.