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YouTube Signs Deal to Become Exclusive Streamer for Esports Leagues

Stephanie Sengwe

Activision Blizzard and Google announced they entered into a multi-year deal that gives YouTube exclusive streaming rights worldwide — with the exception of China — for live broadcasts of Activision Blizzard’s esports leagues and events, including the Overwatch League, Call of Duty League and Hearthstone Esports.

The deal also allows “Google Cloud to serve as the preferred provider for Activision Blizzard’s game hosting infrastructure,” the company said in a statement.

“Both the Overwatch League and Call of Duty League are the quintessential examples of world class esports content,” said Ryan Wyatt, head of gaming, YouTube. “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 news comes after Google released a game-streaming service called Stadia, which, according to Bloomberg, allows users to play without having to buy a console or high-powered computer. “YouTube has always been a major destination for watching people play video games, but the company is trying to take even more territory by poaching well-known game players from Twitch,” Bloomberg reported.

The deal also gives YouTube an edge as the streaming service has fallen short against Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, even though YouTube is the largest video site. “Twitch was the exclusive streaming partner for Activision Blizzard’s first two seasons of the Overwatch League, and Twitch has long been the go-to destination for live gaming entertainment,” according to The Verge.

Photo credit: The Overwatch League