Activision taps Amazon’s Twitch to televise new eSports league

  • TECH
  • Wednesday, 10 Jan 2018

Bloomberg Best of the Year 2017: Attendees play Activision Blizzard Inc.'s Overwatch computer game at the AOC Open e-Sports event in Tokyo, Japan, on Saturday, July 1, 2017. Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg

Activision Blizzard Inc will televise matches for its new professional league for players of the videogame Overwatch on Inc’s Twitch, betting that fans of the service for gamers will embrace professionally produced competitions. 

The two-year deal begins with the first match of the new league on Jan 10. The Overwatch League, which is based on Activision’s hit shooter game, features teams from 12 cities, from London to Shanghai. 

The league is an attempt by the Santa Monica, California-based video game developer to cash in on the growing esports industry. Activision sold franchises in the league for US$20mil (RM80.19mil) to a who’s who of the traditional sports world, including Los Angeles Rams owner Stanley Kroenke and the New England Patriots’ Robert Kraft. 

Activision has brought in major sponsors, such as HP Inc and Intel Corp. Twitch will stream the Overwatch matches in English, Korean and French and will be the exclusive provider everywhere but China. Amazon acquired Twitch, which lets people broadcast themselves playing videogames, for US$970mil (RM3.88bil) in 2014. It’s been working with its videogame broadcasters to sell more products. 

The Overwatch League matches will be free to watch, supported by advertising. Activision said it’s working with Twitch on a system of rewards for fans based on their viewing. — Bloomberg

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