Incredibly, Overwatch, Blizzard Entertainment’s big team player first-person shooter is now on ESPN, Disney and ABC family of networks. The popular team arena game is finally in the big leagues. No longer just a geek or nerd’s entertainment, but now a fully legitimized and televised e-sport. Since its release in May 2016, Overwatch has been wildly popular with an estimated 40 million registered players.
Blizzard and ESPN signed a multi-year deal that included league playoffs for Season 1, which began tonight at 8 pm. The quarterfinals are due to finish July 14th with the finals starting July 27th. You can see the full schedule below. Season 2 will be broadcast live with tons of planned programming centering around the popular game.
This isn’t the first time that ESPN has delved into the esports arena or with Blizzard. The sports network has also broadcast Heroes of the Storm tournaments on several occasions. However, this is the most significant programming deal to date. It seems like an obvious move considering the avid following with online streaming on services such as Twitch.
Many feel this finally legitimizes the whole esports form of sporting events. But did it really need it? Blizzard has noted that they have millions of online viewers since its inception. ESPN hopping on the gamers’ bandwagon can only help the game’s rabid fanbase and popularity. At least this gives the less tech-savvy a way to watch and hopefully enjoy gamers beloved pastime.