Streaming platform Twitch has signed a global two-year third party exclusivity deal to broadcast Blizzard’s esports tournaments live – shutting out YouTube, Facebook, and other hosts – and making it the only online venue to watch these outside of Blizzard’s own streaming services or, like, actually attending the event. With esports expanding into mainstream entertainment channels, this kind of deal is, you know, a big deal. I mean, how many people would be paying DSTV’s extortionate subscription fees without SuperSport? Exactly.
For now, the deal includes the Heroes of the Storm Global Championship (HGC), the StarCraft II World Championship Series (WCS Circuit), the World of Warcraft Arena Championship, the Overwatch Premier Series, the Overwatch APEX League, the Hearthstone Championship Tour (HCT), and the Hearthstone Global Games (HGG). Wait, competitive Hearthstone is still a thing in 2017? Huh.
As an added bonus, Twitch Prime and Amazon Prime subscribers will be getting some free stuff in Overwatch, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm, starting with an Overwatch loot box featuring a guaranteed goldie. Just because! So that’s nice too.
“We founded Twitch as a gaming platform heavily based on our community’s reaction to games like Blizzard’s StarCraft II,” explains Twitch COO Kevin Lin. “Since then, our large, but tight-knit community, our constantly evolving suite of interactive features, and a native emote-driven chat language celebrated by viewers enable us to support and grow Blizzard esports in a manner that best serves our collective fans.”