Blizzard playing games
Blizzard has been causing a storm recently in the news with them promoting their team-based shooter Overwatch to become the ‘premier’ eSport in the world with the Blizzard Overwatch League.
Bobby Kotick was said to have stated the long term goal of the Overwatch League is to generate revenue to the scale of America’s favourite sports the NBA and NFL, huge expectations for a league that has yet to start its first season.
“We’re incredibly excited to launch the Overwatch League later this year,” he said. “We believe by celebrating and rewarding our players, and recognizing their accomplishments, our professional players will become the role models and inspire competitors of the 21st century. The competitions we’re creating around the world will create sponsors and advertisers resulting in broadcast revenues, licensing, sponsorship and ticket sales, and most importantly, amazing spectator experiences.”
From this, you can see they want to create a league that is built upon and establishes a relationship between player and fans to create a community that endorses the sport and brands associated but to also create an environment that is economically sustainable.
“Through MLG we’re building the first dedicated global channel for eSports; the over-the-top ESPN of video games.
“To put the Overwatch League opportunity in context, around 240 million people today watch approximately 7 billion hours of NFL content annually. This drives 12 billion dollars in revenues, including more than 6 billion dollars in media rights revenues. The NBA today has roughly 75 million viewers watching around 2 billion hours total, with more than five billion dollars in revenues, and a billion and eight of those from media rights.”
Here’s them stating the numbers which traditional sports draw in and how that could reflect on the future audience of eSports competitions with millions of people watching a product revenue from media rights and sponsorships shall improve the overall product of eSports for everyone. However, as this is only early days and with they few games establishing a consistent audience this is very speculative and shouldn’t be taken into consideration with eSports current state.
Blizzard has a very ambitious stance on how they feel they can influence eSports and bring it to the masses but until an established platform is formed bring millions of people to watch will be a struggle.