Speculation surrounding broadcast rights for competitive Overwatch grew late last year after YouTube secured the rights to stream the MLG Vegas Invitational. Twitch has faced increased competition for broadcast rights in recent times, leading to some Overwatch fans questioning the games' future on the content provider.
Today's announcement of a deal between Blizzard and Twitch will help to expel some of these doubts. Twitch will have exclusive broadcast rights for APEX and the Overwatch Premier Series through 2018. Twitch obtaining the rights for the Overwatch Premier Series indicates that future seasons will be streamed on the website, welcome news for western fans who have struggled to follow the current season on Chinese streaming sites.
Twitch Prime members are set to benefit from this deal immediately through in-game content. An exclusive golden loot box, guaranteeing players a legendary item, will be awarded to members of the premium service, as well as 10 standard loot boxes.
This announcement comes in the midst of a heated battle for broadcast rights in esports. Facebook and ESL announced a partnership in May this year, detailing plans to stream over 5,500 hours of esports content on the platform. This wasn't the only deal ESL made with a streaming service besides Twitch, also signing a contract with YouTube Gaming for an exclusive broadcast of the Counter-Strike Global Offensive ESL Pro League. The Overwatch League's role in this story remains a mystery, as the ambitious project draws ever closer to commencement.