Popular multiplayer and esports video game "Overwatch" will begin broadcasting live on cable networks Disney XD and ESPN starting July 11 as part of a two-year television deal announced Wednesday by Disney and the game's developer, Blizzard Entertainment.
"Beginning with Overwatch League playoff coverage across both networks, the 2017–2018 Overwatch League inaugural season concludes with the Grand Finals live from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, July 27-28," stated a press release.
In addition, a recap show "highlighting the biggest moments" will be shown July 29 on ABC, the release said. Other network branches airing the esport include ESPN2, ESPNEWS and online on ESPN3. The league can also be watched on streaming site Twitch, the Overwatch League's app and Major League Gaming's website and MLG app.
“The Overwatch League Grand Finals is by far our most comprehensive television distribution for an esports event over a single weekend: 10 total hours over four networks and three days,” Justin Connolly, an executive vice president for the company, said in the press release. “This overall collaboration with Disney/ABC, ESPN and Blizzard represents our continued commitment to esports, and we look forward to providing marquee Overwatch League coverage across our television platforms for fans.”
"Overwatch," released in 2016, is a shooting game for Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One and Windows 10 in which players compete on teams with the goal of taking out the other team to gain control of territory and features cartoon-style graphics and zany characters.
Blizzard's parent company Activision sold Overwatch League franchises for $20 million apiece to 12 cities, include Boston, Phildelphia, Los Angeles. Owners include the New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke along with his son, Bloomberg reported. That team, the Los Angeles Gladiators, is in first place.
The finals will include the top six teams of six players, according to PC Gamer. The winning team will receive $1 million and the Overwatch League championship trophy, the official website of the league states.
As reported by Bloomberg, Goldman Sachs has predicted that esports will top 276 million viewers and $3 billion in revenue by 2022.
According to Engadget, the quarterfinals will begin airing Wednesday, July 11 at 5 p.m. on Disney XD and ESPN3.