Disney XD and Blizzard Entertainment has just announced an exclusive multiyear agreement for live television coverage of the Overwatch League, the world’s first major global city-based esports league.
Beginning with Overwatch League playoff coverage on Wednesday, July 11, across both networks, the 2017–2018 Overwatch League inaugural season concludes with the Grand Finals live from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on ESPN and Disney XD July 27–28. All coverage also will be available for ESPN and Disney network subscribers to stream live on the ESPN App and DisneyNOW. To round out the 2018 Grand Finals coverage, a recap show highlighting the biggest moments will air July 29 on ABC. The Grand Finals telecast on ESPN marks the first time live competitive gaming has aired on the flagship network in primetime, and will be the first broadcast of an esports championship on ABC.
“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,” said Justin Connolly, Executive Vice President, Affiliate Sales and Marketing, Disney and ESPN Media Networks. “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.”
“We are pleased to partner with Activision Blizzard to bring Overwatch esports to our audience. The Blizzard team has created a genre-leading esport and a premium professional franchise system in the Overwatch League,” said Marc Buhaj, Senior Vice President, Programming and General Manager, Disney XD. “We are kicking off the agreement by showcasing the inaugural season playoffs and Grand Finals live across our linear footprint. Together with our telecast partners at ESPN, we look forward to growing a legion of new Overwatch fans across the next two years.”
“We are pleased to partner with Activision Blizzard to bring Overwatch esports to our audience. The Blizzard team has created a genre-leading esport and a premium professional franchise system in the Overwatch League.” – Marc Buhaj
“We’re excited to be working with ESPN and DisneyXD to bring Overwatch esports to an even wider audience,” said Pete Vlastelica, President and CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues. “We’ve seen incredible passion and support from fans during the inaugural season of the Overwatch League, and we’re looking forward to capping it off for them with an epic Grand Finals at Barclays Center later this month.”
The inaugural season of the Overwatch League will culminate in the Grand Finals, the ultimate showdown for the championship: the first team to win two best-of-five matches at Barclays Center will take home the Overwatch League trophy and the lion’s share of the $1.4 million Grand Finals prize pool. Play begins Friday, July 27, at 7 p.m. EDT with the first best-of-five match on ESPN, and continues Saturday, July 28, at 4:30 p.m. EDT with the second and potential third series on Disney XD. This broadcast will air alongside the primary digital viewing experience on Twitch, with the Overwatch League also available via MLG.com. A re-air of day two Grand Finals play will be available on ESPN2 at 9 p.m. EDT. In addition, a recap show of highlights from the Grand Finals will air Sunday, July 29, at 3 p.m. EDT on ABC. The full telecast schedule, from the playoffs through the Grand Finals, is below.
Overwatch League 2017–2018 Playoffs and Grand Finals Telecast Schedule
|Wed, July 11||8 p.m.||Day 1 of Quarterfinals||Disney XD, ESPN3|
|Fri, July 13||8 p.m.||Day 2 of Quarterfinals||Disney XD, ESPN3|
|Sat, July 14||4 p.m.||Day 3 of Quarterfinals||Disney XD, ESPN3|
|Wed, July 18||8 p.m.||Day 1 of Semifinals||Disney XD, ESPN3|
|Fri, July 20||7 p.m.||Day 2 of Semifinals||ESPNEWS|
|Sat, July 21||7 p.m.||Day 3 of Semifinals||ESPN2|
|Fri, July 27||7 p.m.||Day 1 of Finals||ESPN|
|Sat, July 28||4:30 p.m.||Day 2 of Finals||Disney XD, ESPN3|
|Sat, July 28||9 p.m.||Day 2 of Finals||ESPN2 (re-air)|
|Sun, July 29||3 p.m.||Highlights Recap||ABC, ESPN3|
Will you watch the Overwatch League coverage? How do you think this partnership will impact esports? Tell us in the comments!
SuperData Unveils Premiere Tool to Measure Online Gaming Video and Streaming ROI
SuperData is launching the SuperData Arena dashboard, a breakthrough new viewership reporting tool developed to provide games publishers, brands and sponsors with in-depth audience metrics and insights across gaming video content (GVC) and esports platforms and services.
This industry-changing tool determines the value of top games, industry influencers, popular streaming content, game channels and audiences by tracking a wide range of metrics, such as the number of hours streamed and watched, average concurrent viewers and channel followers across Twitch, YouTube and other top streaming games sources. With the SuperData Arena, comparing game titles with the industry’s most popular streamers as well as tracking the performance of major esports events has never been more seamless.
“Watching games online has quickly become one of the most popular forms of interactive entertainment with many games video titles and esports events now generating audiences that rival traditional media content. The new SuperData Arena dashboard offers brands and publishers the ability to have a combined view of gaming video streaming data metrics with game sales data. It provides a holistic view of how players and fans are consuming and engaging with streaming content across the world’s most popular channels and platforms.” – Joost van Dreunen, co-founder at SuperData
Leading brands and publishers will be able to use SuperData Arena to better inform their sponsorship decisions with SuperData’s proprietary Influencer Value Index. This allows clients to track video games content retention, engagement, magnitude and overall value to determine sponsorship ROI. Brands will also be able to use its interactive dashboards and reports to gauge the value of the top game streamer’s audiences with easy-to-visualize data that features demographic information and purchase intent.
As gaming video content, streaming, and esports continues to experience explosive growth, it has become clear that publishers, brands, and advertisers need a data-centric overview of what consumers are watching and where they are spending their money. SuperData Arena will also help brands identify optimal sponsorship opportunities as they seek to maximize ROI.
What do you think of a dashboard feature for esports? Let us know in the comments!
Fuel Games Launches Blockchain’s First eSport
Fuel Games has announced the pre-sale launch of their online game Gods Unchained, the world’s first blockchain-based eSport. The multiplayer strategy game showcases how blockchain technology can be used to offer gamers absolute, trust-free ownership of the items they purchase or earn in games.
‘Gamers spend tens of billions of dollars and countless hours each year acquiring in-game items. But game studios barely offer their users a licensing agreement for these items, let alone actual ownership – they’re a central bank with no oversight,’ said CEO James Ferguson, 26, who founded Fuel Games with his 21-year-old brother Robbie. The young duo were motivated by their own experiences in gaming, understanding the shortcomings that come with game developers having centralized control over in-game economies. ‘Offering players true ownership of in-game items, and the ability to trade those items freely on secondary markets, means gamers can finally be rewarded for their efforts and spending’, added Robbie. ‘As the games industry switches to asset-driven revenue models, players have a more urgent need than ever for guarantees about the value and tradability of those assets.’
The launch of Gods Unchained follows Fuel Games’ $2.4 million seed round, which was led by investors Continue Capital and Nirvana Capital, and soon followed by Sora Ventures and Coinbase. The funding is being used to create games and build their software platform, Apollo, which will allow game studios to integrate their titles with blockchain technology at scale.
In creating Gods Unchained, Fuel Games aims to demonstrate that decentralizing in-game economies is an evolution in gaming, and they want to provide consumers with an experience that sets new expectations for game publishers.
“Offering players true ownership of in-game items, and the ability to trade those items freely on secondary markets, means gamers can finally be rewarded for their efforts and spending.” – Robbie Ferguson
‘For blockchain-based games to be successfully adopted by the mainstream market, there needs to be a seamless user experience. Gods Unchained aims to offer all the benefits of decentralization while eliminating the friction traditionally encountered when using cryptocurrencies’ said Robbie, Fuel Games COO.
In February this year, Fuel Games released Etherbots, the company’s first game utilizing the Ethereum blockchain, which offered players ownership of digital robots that could be used to battle other players. Within two weeks of the game launching, Fuel Games had sold over $1 million of in-game items, with individual items won in-game later trading for prices up to $18,000.
Although gaming will benefit from blockchain technology, the brothers feel that the blockchain industry itself stands to gain just as much. ‘Decentralized games will allow people to familiarize themselves with blockchain technology in a fun and user-friendly environment’ added Robbie. ‘I won’t be surprised if gaming ends up being blockchain’s first killer application outside the financial space. Gamers have always been early adopters, and this time will be no different.’
What do you think of games that utilize blockchain technology? Would you try Etherbots or Gods Unchained? Let us know in the comments!
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