Skip to main content

The Overwatch League goes mainstream with broadcasts coming to ESPN

MVP Player’s Predictions

Blizzard’s The Overwatch League has managed to attract a huge following online, where Twitch viewer counts have been astronomical, but you will soon be able to watch the esports action on a very familiar sports channel: ESPN.

Disney — the parent company of ESPN — and Blizzard made the announcement Wednesday, July 11, revealing that in addition to the main ESPN station, The Overwatch League matches will be broadcast on ESPN2, ABC, and Disney XD. The latter channel is no stranger to gaming content, as its Disney XP programming block last summer featured competitive gaming as well as more in-depth programs like The IGN Show.

So, when will you be able to start watching The Overwatch League on television? It actually begins tonight, when the playoffs kick off. The deal also includes the grand finals, the Overwatch World Cup in the fall, and The Overwatch League’s second season.

“Clearly by the way we’re going to be covering it, starting with the playoffs and the finals this year, certainly speaks volumes to our excitement and our enthusiasm overall for esports moving forward,” ESPN Vice President of Digital Media Programming John Lasker said in a statement.

As esports have become more mainstream, there has been less pushback regarding their place alongside more traditional sports on networks such as ESPN. Former ESPN personality Colin Cowherd was among the most vocal opponents, taking issue with Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm being played on ESPN2 back in 2015. His former SportsNation co-host Michelle Beadle had a much different response, becoming enthusiastic about the game despite her initial lack of interest.

The International Olympic Committee is scheduled to host an esports forum in Switzerland later this month to discuss the possibility of video games becoming an Olympic event. They would potentially be added to the Olympics for 2024, but only non-violent video games will be eligible. This means we won’t be seeing any games like Overwatch or Heroes of the Storm. It’s possible virtual sports series such as FIFA or Madden will be on display, instead, but we would love to see someone take home a gold medal for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Editors' Recommendations

Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
Overwatch League’s Dallas Fuel will resume in-person esports events in July
A live Overwatch League event in an arena.

Overwatch League team the Dallas Fuel announced that it will resume live, in-person events at the Esports Arena Arlington on July 9. The Overwatch League team will be on stage at the event going up against the Houston Outlaws.

This is a big step toward esports to returning back to the physical world after more than a year of primarily online tournaments. This will be the first OWL match to be hosted at a team's home arena as the league has been solely playing online matches. There have been smaller local events and tournaments that were closed to the public that happened this year, but this is significant as the match between Dallas Fuel and the Houston Outlaws will be one of the first major in-person events in the United States since the pandemic.

Read more
League of Legends 2020 World Championship to push through in China amid COVID-19
league of legends 2020 world championship china lux ezreal lee sin teemo leona

Riot Games is pushing through with the 2020 World Championship for League of Legends, despite safety concerns due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The global health crisis has affected the video game industry in the form of delayed releases such as The Last of Us Part II and canceled events such as E3 2020. However, it appears that Riot Games will not allow the coronavirus to affect its plans for League of Legends' Worlds 2020.

Read more
After misconduct scandals, Smash and Dota communities wrestle with what comes next

Dark sides of the Super Smash Bros. and Dota 2 e-sports communities have come to light over the past few weeks as dozens of sexual assault, abuse, and harassment victims have been sharing their stories.

These revelations -- which revealed misconduct by top players and commentators -- have kick-started a discussion about how to prevent these unacceptable behaviors from happening again.

Read more