YouTube gains exclusive streaming rights for Overwatch League, Call of Duty League, and Hearthstone esports

This is a big change for some big esports.

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Activision Blizzard and Google entered a multi-year partnership for exclusive streaming rights to the Overwatch League, Hearthstone esports, and the new Call of Duty League, the companies announced today.

Previously, both Overwatch and Hearthstone esports events were streamed on Twitch. The Call of Duty League, which begins tonight, didn’t have a streaming partner announced until this afternoon.

As part of the deal, Google Cloud will serve as “the preferred provider for Activision Blizzard’s game hosting infrastructure.” The hope is that players will benefit from high-quality service, low latency, and low packet loss.

“With more than 200 million gamers a day watching more than 50 billion hours of gaming content per year, YouTube provides gamers and their passionate fans with the most popular video gaming platform in the world,” said Ryan Wyatt, the head of gaming at YouTube. “Both the Overwatch League and Call of Duty League are the quintessential examples of world class esports content. As a former Call of Duty esports commentator myself, I couldn’t be more excited for Activision Blizzard to choose YouTube as its exclusive home for the digital live streaming of both leagues. This partnership further demonstrates our dedication to having a world class live streaming product for gaming.” 

The length or terms of the deal weren’t mentioned, other than that it’s a “multi-year agreement” between Activision Blizzard and Google. The streaming deal is worldwide, excluding China.

“This is an exciting year for Activision Blizzard Esports as we head into the inaugural season of Call of Duty League and our first ever season of homestands for Overwatch League all around the world,” said Pete Vlastelica, CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports. “It’s our mission to deliver high-quality competitive entertainment that our fans can follow globally, live or on-demand, and to celebrate our players as the superstars that they are. This partnership will help us deliver on that promise at new levels, by combining our passionate communities of fans and players with YouTube’s powerful content platform and exciting history of supporting next-generation entertainment.”

The Call of Duty League Launch Weekend begins today at 4:30pm CT.