Three Esports Leagues Move to YouTube, Continuing the Livestream Wars

Wired: “Today, YouTube announced that it will exclusively stream three behemoth esports leagues—the Call of Duty League, the Overwatch League, and Hearthstone Esports, all controlled by Activision Blizzard—that had lived primarily on the game streaming platform Twitch. News of the defections rattled the esports world, especially as it came mere hours before the Call of Duty League’s inaugural match.”

“Twitch had held exclusive Overwatch League streaming rights since 2018, when it signed a reported $90 million deal. YouTube’s partnership spans several years as well; Google Cloud will also host Activision Blizzard’s entire library of games.”

“It’s the latest in a series of high-profile YouTube gaming poaches. Over the past several months, YouTube has plucked Twitch mainstays like Jack “CouRage” Dunlop, who boasted an average of more than 9,000 live viewers per stream. Just last week, YouTube announced exclusive deals with three gaming giants, Rachell “Valkyrae” Hofstetter, Elliott “Muselk” Watkins, and Lannan “LazarBeam” Eacott. Nabbing Activision’s esports as well will be an enormous boon for the growing YouTube live gaming platform, which currently accounts for about 28 percent of livestreamed hours, to Twitch’s 61 percent, according to stream platform analytics firm StreamElements.”


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