Overwatch League: Twitch snaps up broadcast rights

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Had the deal not gone through I'm sure a lot of fans would be left wondering exactly what sort of alternatives would have been made available to view the league matches?

It expands on an agreement between Twitch and Blizzard signed past year that gave the streaming service rights to esports tournaments for games such as Starcraft, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm.

Overwatch is hugely popular, with 35 million players worldwide.

In a research note, Raymond James analysts Justin Patterson, Aaron Kessler and Bianca Rodriguez say that the Overwatch deal is "symbolic of the changing face of content in the over-the-top (OTT) video era".

Games broadcasting platform Twitch and publisher Blizzard have signed a last-minute deal handing the streaming service exclusive third-party rights to the Overwatch League.

"Blizzard has cut it fine by announcing Twitch as its streaming partner for the Overwatch League just a day before the start of the competition in Los Angeles on 10 January", said Piers Harding-Rolls, head of games research at analyst IHS Markit. However, the matches taking place in China will not be broadcast through Twitch.

Fans will be able to watch all Overwatch League matches on OverwatchLeague.com, Twitch, MLG.com, and the mobile apps associated with all three sites.

So fans of Blizzard's multiplayer hero-shooter will be able to follow every moment of the inaugural season of the game's professional league.

Kevin Lin, COO of Twitch, said: "The Overwatch League is making a major impact on e-sports by reshaping the industry with city-based teams".

The Overwatch League's inaugural season will run through June, with the Playoffs and Finals scheduled for July. Debut seasons will be live on Twitch. Twitch's deal does not include rights to stream to the Chinese market.