Disney and Blizzard have announced a huge deal for Overwatch League broadcasting. As part of a deal announced today, the inaugural Overwatch League playoffs will be broadcast on Disney’s network of channels, including ESPN, Disney XD, and ABC. This kicked off on July 11 with playoff rounds and continues with the Grand Finals from the Barclays Center in New York on July 27-28. The competition will air on ESPN and Disney XD, along with mobile platforms in the form of the ESPN App and Disney Now.
On July 29, after the competition wraps up, a “recap show” will be broadcast on ABC in primetime, which represents the first time the championship of an esports tournament will be shown in primetime on ABC.
Disney and ESPN executive Justin Connolly said the Overwatch League Grand Finals represents the network’s “most comprehensive television distribution” ever for an esports tournament on a single weekend. There will be 10 hours of competition broadcast over three days. “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,” Connolly said.
The winning team of the Grand Finals will take home the inaugural Overwatch League trophy and the bulk of a $1.4 million prize pool.
It kicks off on Friday, July 27, at 7 PM ET with best-of-five matches on ESPN. The competition continues the next day on ESPN, starting at 4:30 PM ET, while additional matches will air on Disney XD. Matches will also be broadcast on Twitch, MLG.com, ESPN, and ABC. Here is the full programming schedule:
This deal between Disney and Activision does not negate the existing partnership that exists between Twitch and Activision. According to Sports Business Daily, Twitch paid Activision $90 million to broadcast some Overwatch League matches. Terms of the new deal with Disney were not made available.
The Overwatch League started in January. There are 12 teams in the league, and in a first for an esports organisation, they are based in cities just like traditional sports leagues. You can learn more about the Overwatch League playoffs here on the Overwatch website.