Activision Blizzard

Overwatch League strikes a milestone deal with Disney and ESPN

Posted by | abc, Activision Blizzard, disney xd, Entertainment, espn, esports, Gaming, Sports, TC | No Comments

If you’re sick of hearing about esports, you need to get over it. The space continues to grow, inching its way into the traditional media landscape. Today, in fact, Activision Blizzard announced that the Overwatch League playoffs will be aired on ESPN and Disney XD.

The Overwatch League in itself is a huge step for esports, as it’s the first true city-based league for a competitive video game. While most esports leagues consist of privately owned teams with little or nothing to do with geography, Overwatch League is a pro league made up of city-based teams such as the Dallas Fuel or the San Francisco Shock. Many of these teams are owned by big names in the traditional sports world, such as Robert Kraft (CEO and owner of New England Patriots, who owns the Boston Uprising) and Jeff Wilpon (COO of the New York Mets, who owns the New York Excelsior).

The agreement, which also includes a recap/highlights package from 2018 Grand Finals coverage on ABC on July 29, marks the first time that live competitive gaming has aired on ESPN in prime time, and will be the first broadcast of an esports championship on ABC. Activision Blizzard said in the announcement that this is just the start of a multi-year agreement.

That said, EA’s Madden NFL 18 did broadcast an esports tournament on ESPN2 and Disney XD earlier this year.

Overwatch League playoffs begin tonight at 8pm ET, and will culminate in the Grand Finals, taking place in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, on July 27 and July 28.

Here’s what Justin Connolly, EVP of Affiliate Sales and Marketing at Disney and ESPN, had to say in a prepared statement:

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. 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.

The rise of Twitch stars, like Ninja, and the growth of the competitive gaming scene have paved the way not only for a new type of sports media, but for a growing new economy. While challenges remain around monetizing the content, the pieces of the puzzle are slowing coming together to create an audience large enough to incentivize advertisers to spend big money.

In fact, sponsorship revenue and ad spending revenue are expected to hit $655 million and $224 million, respectively, by 2020, according to Newzoo. That doesn’t sound like much when you think about the NFL, which raked in $1.3 billion in revenue in 2017 alone. But, like this deal proves, the esports space is growing and working its way into the mainstream, hoping to get the attention of young men between 18 and 34 who have become increasingly difficult to reach via traditional advertising.

Alongside the live TV broadcast of the Overwatch League playoffs on ESPN and Disney XD, the playoffs will also be live-streamed via Twitch, MLG.com and on the ESPN app and DisneyNOW.

Powered by WPeMatico

Esports Overwatch League heads to hipster Brooklyn for its finals

Posted by | Activision, Activision Blizzard, blizzcon, california, esports, esports league, game design, Gaming, London, Los Angeles, Louisiana, New York, overwatch, Seoul, setting, shanghai, TC, United States | No Comments

What could be more perfect than moving the inaugural championship finals for an esports league from its Los Angeles home to Brooklyn?

For Overwatch League, the esports conference created by fiat from Activision Blizzard, the move is the first step in its plans for housing esports teams in cities around the country.

Heading from sunny Burbank, Calif. to the hipster heartland of Brooklyn conjures up echoes of the famed Dodger franchise move (in reverse) while tapping into one of the few other markets in the U.S. that might rival LA for esports popularity.

When the Overwatch regular season ends on Sunday, June 17th, six teams will face off in the league’s first post-season playoffs. Those games are set to begin July 11th and will take place in Burbank at the company’s “Blizzard Arena Los Angeles.”

After the playoffs, the final teams will fly to New York to compete for the largest share of a $1.4 million prize pool and the first Overwatch League trophy. The games are slated to begin Friday, July 27th and continue on the 28th.

“The Overwatch League Grand Finals will be an epic experience for fans and viewers,” said Overwatch League commissioner Nate Nanzer in a statement. “We want this to be the pinnacle of esports, and holding it at a world-class venue like Barclays Center, in a global capital like New York, will help us celebrate not only the league’s two best teams, but the fans, partners, and players who have joined us on this incredible journey.”

Overwatch is taking a geographic approach to its franchises with teams sponsored by cities in the U.S. and major esports hubs around the world like London, Shanghai and Seoul.

Eventually the league is looking to set up stadiums in locations outside of Burbank. With league play requiring teams to travel — like a traditional sports league.

The move to Brooklyn could be a test of how well the Overwatch experience travels and a precursor to the league starting to take its show on the road in earnest.

Tickets go on sale on Friday, May 18th, at 10 a.m. EDT, and can be bought on ticketmaster.com and barclayscenter.com, while tickets to the first two rounds of the Overwatch League postseason at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles go on sale Thursday, May 10th, at 9 a.m. PDT via AXS.com.

Powered by WPeMatico

Blizzard reveals Overwatch’s queer character

Posted by | Activision Blizzard, Diversity, e-sports, Gaming, lgbtq, overwatch | No Comments

tracer-blizzard After months of hinting, Blizzard finally revealed which member of Overwatch’s colorful cast of characters counts themselves a member of the LGBTQ community. The much-anticipated reveal came in a seasonal digital comic centered around Tracer, the spritely Londoner with gravity-defying hair who proved to be an early fan favorite and the literal face of the game.
The comic… Read More

Powered by WPeMatico

Discord chief executive on distribution and the importance of the PC in gaming

Posted by | Activision Blizzard, Column, Electronic Arts, Gaming, jason citron, Josh Elman, TC | No Comments

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 11: Jason Citron (C) of Fates Forever attends Day 3 of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2013 at San Francisco Design Center on September 11, 2013 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch) The global video game industry is exploding in popularity. Companies such as ESPN, Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts have formed their own e-sports divisions in recent months, and the gaming market exceeds $90 billion, up 9 percent in the last year. It is bigger than the movie industry and predicted to expand with new emerging platforms like VR. Greylock investment partner Josh Elman… Read More

Powered by WPeMatico

Activision Blizzard Closes Its $5.9B Acquisition Of King, Makers Of Candy Crush

Posted by | Activision Blizzard, Apps, Europe, Fundings & Exits, Gaming, king.com, Mobile, mobile gaming, social games, TC | No Comments

candy-crush-burst Activision Blizzard today announced that it has closed its acquisition of King Digital for $5.9 billion, a deal that it says makes it the largest game network in the world with more than 500 million users. King is the publisher of the popular Candy Crush series of social and mobile games, while Activision Blizzard’s best known titles include World of Warcraft and Call of Duty. This… Read More

Powered by WPeMatico

Activision Blizzard Acquires Candy Crush Maker King Digital Entertainment For $5.9 Billion

Posted by | Activision Blizzard, Apps, Candy Crush, Gaming, King, King Digital Entertainment, king.com, Social | No Comments

yeti-shop Well here’s a blockbuster acquisition for you. Gaming mothership Activision Blizzard has entered into an agreement to acquire King.com, maker of the wildly popular game Candy Crush and probably other games that I have nor ever will play. Mobile. Games. It’s all of the hot things. Read More

Powered by WPeMatico