Blizzard And Amazon's Twitch Sign Exclusive Agreement For eSports Game Streaming

If you thought the esports phenomenon would eventually fizzle, think again. Esports is as popular as ever, and just as importantly, it continues to grow and attract major participants. To keep the good times growing, game developer and publisher Blizzard Entertainment announced today a two-year deal with Twitch that gives Amazon's streaming service live-streaming rights to select esport content.

The deal gives Twitch third-party streaming rights for many of Blizzard's most popular esports events and games, including Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, and Overwatch. There will be over 20 major individual events that get live-streamed through Twitch, including the Heroes of the Storm Global Championship (HGC), StarCarrft II World Championship Series (WCS Circuit), Hearthstone Championship Tour (HCT) and Global Games (HGG), World of Warcraft Arena Championship, and both the Overwatch Apex League and Premier Series.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Marco Verch)

"We’ve had great experiences and a long history of working with Twitch, and we’re thrilled that this landmark agreement with them will help us bring some of the most exciting esports action in the world to Twitch fans and everyone who follows Blizzard esports," said Frank Pearce, chief product officer and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment. "Our esports communities are vital to us. We know there are millions of people out there who love Blizzard esports as much as we do, and we’re committed to making sure they’ll be able to cheer on their favorite players in all of their favorite Blizzard games for a long time to come."

The two-year collaboration will also see Twitch Prime members in over 200 countries and territories receiving special in-game loot and deals for some of the aforementioned titles. In fact, starting today (and running through August 10) new and current Twitch Prime members will receive a Golden Loot Box for Overwatch that is guaranteed to contain a legendary item for one of the game's heroes, along with three additional in-game items. And over the coming months, Blizzard will dole out 10 more Overwatch loot boxes, with similar promotions kicking off later this year.

Image Source: Flickr (BagoGames)

"We founded Twitch as a gaming platform heavily based on our community's reaction to games like Blizzard’s StarCraft II," said Kevin Lin, COO, Twitch. "Since then, our large, but tight-knit community, our constantly evolving suite of interactive features, and a native emote-driven chat language celebrated by viewers enable us to support and grow Blizzard esports in a manner that best serves our collective fans. This includes providing Blizzard fans with exclusive in-game content for those who subscribe to Twitch Prime, another defining and cherished component of our brand."

Esports has seen tremendous growth in recent years. Blizzard has been particularly busy in the esports category—it acquired Major League Gaming (MLG) for $46 million last year, which it followed up by partnering with Facebook to introduce esports to a wider audience. It also brought Overwatch to TBS last year to telecast players competing for their share of a $300,000 prize pool.