The Overwatch League Begins it’s Inaugural Season on Twitch
The Overwatch League (OWL) kicked off the first week of it’s regular season on Twitch. The broadcast covered three matches over the evening with over 441,000 viewers at it’s peak. Fans were able to enjoy broadcasts in English, French, and Korean. With years of experience behind the brand, and apps on major consoles Twitch seemed the natural choice for the new league.
However, until last Tuesday the OWL on being on Twitch didn’t seem like a sure thing. Anyone who watched the preseason matches came away with a great deal of questions. Chief among these questions was one regarding the broadcast itself. Why weren’t the matches on Twitch? Now owned by Amazon, Twitch has a well earned reputation as ‘the’ platform for gaming broadcasts. The rise of competitive esports has only helped to solidify this position. These days it seems that nearly every tournament, large and small, is streamed on the website. This included the 2017 Overwatch World Cup.
So the absence of the OWL preseason on Twitch made a lot of people scratch their heads. And the head scratching fueled other questions. Would the league be on Twitch at all? Is Blizzard seeking another partner for the new league’s broadcasts? Are they handling the broadcasts themselves? Could their relationship with Twitch be crumbling? Thankfully Tuesdays announcement put everyone’s concerns to rest.
Exclusively on Twitch
In a press release Tuesday Blizzard announced that the first two seasons of the OWL will be exclusive to Twitch saying. “With the exception of China, Twitch will be the exclusive worldwide third-party digital provider for Overwatch League regular-season, playoffs, and championship matches, with streams in English, Korean, and French.”
Blizzard also said that the League and Twitch “are developing innovative rewards for fans, which will bestow the league’s most steadfast viewers with Overwatch League in-game items.” Given Twitch’s history of broadcaster-viewer interaction and Blizzards creativity in creating in-game items this might be the best part of this new relationship.
Having the OWL on Twitch makes too much sense. The broadcasts and the league itself seem like the natural progression of years of competitive gaming on the network. The Overwatch League has already begun, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to catch some of the action. You can watch the English channel, or the Korean and French channels.