Overwatch League Snubs Twitch in Favor of MLG

by | Dec 7, 2017 | News, Videogames

Overwatch League Snubs Twitch in Favor of MLG

by | Dec 7, 2017 | News, Videogames |

The Overwatch League’s start has been anything but typical. Following the recent withdrawal of the Philadelphia Fusion from the preseason, Blizzard has also announced that their preseason games will not be streamed live on Twitch despite a previous contract to broadcast on the platform.

Overwatch League Preseason schedule

In June of this year, Blizzard signed a deal with Twitch to broadcast over twenty of their tournaments and events across numerous games, including the Overwatch APEX League and Premier Series. This made Twitch the only third-party with broadcasting rights, as all other Blizzard events would be broadcast on their personal websites or through MLG.

What makes the recent move so surprising is the nature of Blizzard and Twitch’s original agreement. Blizzard needed more coverage for its esports, and Twitch wanted access to some exclusive esport content since it failed to secure several key CS:GO Leagues as well as several thousand hours of ESL content. Blizzard’s CPO even commented on the agreement, stating:

“We’ve had great experiences and a long history of working with Twitch, and we’re thrilled that this landmark agreement with them will help us bring… esports… to Twitch fans.”

Looking back at the deal brokered in June, all signs indicated a close, comfortable working relationship. However, Blizzard’s broadcasting of the preseason across only their own channels seems somewhat backhanded. While it’s true that the agreement was for the OWL Series, not the preseason, Twitch will already be broadcasting all major games and events for the game.

Blizzard’s reasoning may be that they want fans to initially flock to their platforms – either the OWL site, or to MLG – to tune in to the first few games to try and get people hooked, but this will immediately be undercut by the fact that the rest of the games will be available on Twitch. It also seems odd because MLG is owned by Blizzard, and if their efforts were to wholly promote it, they shouldn’t have signed a contract with Twitch at all.

Whatever their game, it marks one more bizarre occurrence on the OWL’s journey. But Blizzard should be very careful. It snubbed every major esport organization with its $20 million buy-in for teams, and if it makes an enemy of Twitch as well, it will almost certainly spell doom for the unproven esport.



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