Activision Blizzard Signs Multi-Year Media Deal with Youtube Gaming

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Activision Blizzard Signs Multi-Year Media Deal with Youtube Gaming

Activision Blizzard is not in the best place right now, between an exodus of staff from the Overwatch League, and the criticism of CDL’s opening weekend, but these minor concerns were overshadowed by larger news. Amongst rumors of where the Overwatch League and Call of Duty League will be broadcasted, a media rights deal was signed with Google to broadcast the esport competitions on Youtube Gaming.

In 2018 Activision Blizzard signed a two-year deal for the Overwatch League to be broadcasted on Twitch. The deal expired at the end of the Overwatch League’s 2019 season, and since then many have waited to see where the league would be hosted. Activision Blizzard announced today, January 24th, that they will be partnering with Google in “a multi-year strategic relationship” to broadcast Blizzard Esports on Youtube Gaming. In an official statement from Blizzard, they confirmed that “OWL, the Call of Duty League, Hearthstone Masters and Grandmasters, and the World of Warcraft Mythic Dungeon International and Arena World Championship will also be live-streamed and available on-demand on their respective YouTube channels.”

This deal is a risky one but regardless of how the partnership fares by the end of 2020, this is one of the largest deals in esports history. Google is a powerful force in the digital realm, and the utility that they will bring to the table will force Activision Blizzard to expand the reach of their esport titles. In the press release, Sunil Rayan, Head of Gaming for Google Cloud stated that, “We've worked closely with Activision Blizzard for the past few years across mobile titles to boost its analytics capabilities and overall player experience. We are excited to now expand our relationship and help power one of the largest and most renowned game developers in the world.” Google’s support in infrastructure and streaming, especially with the implementation of Cloud Gaming, could assist the Overwatch League in avoiding similar issues that they faced last year.

Youtube Gaming may not be the first choice many would have thought of when the discussion of media rights deals came up. But looking at Youtube Gaming’s track record in the Mobile esports scene, according to Stream Hatchet the top 10 mobile esport events of 2019 had over 75 million hours collectively watch on Youtube Gaming with barely any viewership on Twitch or Facebook Gaming. While Youtube Gaming has spent less time in the spotlight than its competitors Twitch and Mixer, this deal could potentially put them ahead in the streaming race.

The Call of Duty League is kicking off this weekend, January 24th hosted by the Minnesota Rokkr where we will finally get to see what these new Call of Duty rosters are capable of. The Overwatch League doesn’t start until February 8th but has a more intensive schedule for the year. Make sure to follow ESTNN on Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook for all of your latest gaming news.

Malik Shelp
Malik specializes in esports photography, videography, video editing, and graphic design. He has also written Overwatch and Dota articles for over 2 years for DBLTAP and other esports outlets. You can learn more about Malik on our About page.