ESPN, Disney XD and its family of networks will broadcast matches of Blizzard Entertainment Inc.’s Overwatch League in another major development in the booming esports scene.
The exclusive, multiyear agreement went live today for the league’s inaugural playoffs, which concludes July 27 and 28 with the Grand Finals live from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The league, established in January, is based on the Irvine-based publisher’s first-person shooter hit “Overwatch.”
Twelve teams, acquired for a reported $20 million each, competed in the first year, representing Los Angeles, Boston, London, Miami-Orlando, New York, San Francisco, Seoul and Shanghai.
ESPN and Disney network subscribers can stream live coverage on the ESPN App and DisneyNOW. A recap show highlighting the biggest moments of the season will air July 29 on ABC.
The Grand Finals broadcast on ESPN marks the first time live competitive gaming will air on the flagship network in primetime, as well as the first esports championship telecast on ABC.
The first team to win two, best-of-five matches at Barclays Center will take home the Overwatch League trophy and the vast share of a $1.4 million prize purse.
The broadcasts will air alongside coverage on Amazon’s Twitch.tv in a deal first announced in January. Matches are also available on MLG.com.
Blizzard’s Santa Monica parent, Activision Blizzard Inc., in 2016 acquired New York-based Major League Gaming for an estimated $40 million to help it build such esports ventures.