Last week, Twitch and Blizzard announced a huge 2 year exclusive 3rd party streaming agreement and partnership.
The deal is made up of two parts: content and in-game integration.
On the content side, Twitch gets access to Blizzard titles including Hearthstone, World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm - pay attention to this one for a moment.
Twitch also gets access to 20+ events including:
- StarCraft II World Championship Series
- Hearthstone Championship Tour
- Hearthstone Global Games
- World of Warcraft Arena Championship
- Overwatch APEX League
- Overwatch Premier Series
- Heroes of the Storm Global Championship
I've highlighted the last 3 because of the following: Ad Sales, the necessary evil, tug-of-war that exists both internally at publishers and externally at agencies and brands. Let me paint a simple picture:
[Media Buyer/Brand]: How can we work with Heroes of the Dorm? Please talk to Facebook, they have the exclusive.
[Media Buyer/Brand]: OK, how about the Heroes of the Storm Championship? Please talk to Twitch, they have the exclusive.
[Media Buyer/Brand]: OK, what about the Overwatch League? Please talk to Major League Gaming and whoever else they will partner with.
[Media Buyer/Brand]: But, wait, what about the Overwatch Apex League? Please go back and talk to Twitch.
Sound complicated? Just try explaining eSports.
The second part of the deal, just like Twitch Prime, is genius. Twitch Prime members will receive access to a slew of in game items across Blizzard titles and an exclusive Overwatch Loot box. Over the next year, Twitch Prime members will receive almost a dozen more of these.
"Loot Boxes" are essentially the lottery system inside gaming which primes the monetization pump: Want a really cool shirt for your character, skin for your gun or a Madden/FIFA player that's ultra rare? Buy a box and hope you win. Good luck!
We will continue to see exclusive, multi-platform deals across the same title. Ultimately, this benefits the publisher the most - like always - and more content for viewers to engage with.
But while we are still so early stages in the monetization of eSports, does this make it easier for media buyers and brands, the ones ultimately funding the current "infrastructure"?
This is just move preview #1.
JUNE 21: NBC ENTERS ESPORTS WITH ROCKET LEAGUE ACROSS TV, DIGITAL AND OTT