Less than a month after YouTube snagged the exclusive streaming rights to Activision-Blizzard’s esports, sources are now reporting on the deal’s price tag. According to the Esports Observer, YouTube spent $160 million USD over a three-year term to grab the media rights from streaming competitor Twitch.
What’s in the deal
Games included in the deal were Overwatch, Call of Duty, and Hearthstone, along with their respective leagues and events. The deal came at a pivotal time, as it was officially announced just before the start of the Call of Duty League’s (CDL) inaugural season.
The price for each game’s media rights is unknown. However, reports say Activision-Blizzard’s previous deal for the Overwatch League (OWL) was worth $90 million over two years. In this newest update, sources claim most of the $160 million deal went towards the OWL. The CDL was also a significant factor, while the Hearthstone rights are described as “a free throw-in.”
The deal also reportedly includes major income opportunities through incentive clauses for ad sales and viewership targets. The reports say these clauses are achievable and can provide more money for each game’s respective leagues and teams.
What Activision-Blizzard dumping Twitch means for streaming
When Activision-Blizzard dropped Amazon’s Twitch for Google’s YouTube, the game publisher stated it wanted a partner that would help enhance its gaming infrastructure.
“The company turned to Google Cloud because of its highly reliable global footprint, advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, and commitment to open source, creating a platform for building future gaming innovations.”
Meanwhile, Google executives noted that the company has a previous working relationship with Activision-Blizzard on mobile titles.
The major deal shines a light on growing competition in the gaming and esports streaming scene. Aside from Twitch and YouTube Gaming, major contenders also include Facebook Gaming and Microsoft’s Mixer platform. Each company has been consistently trying to get a leg up on the others through avenues like exclusivity deals. Examples include Tyler “Ninja” Blevins leaving Twitch for Mixer and Jack “CourageJD” Dunlop going exclusive with YouTube Gaming.
According to a report from Streamlabs and Newzoo, Twitch remains the streaming frontrunner but saw an overall viewership decline last year. Meanwhile, Mixer doubled its number of hours watched and streamed in 2019 versus 2018. Additionally, the total hours watched on YouTube Gaming grew 46% between Q1 and Q4 2019.
As esports and streaming popularity continue to grow, it’ll be interesting to see how exclusivity wars heat up going forward. Be sure to keep up with esports business news here at Daily Esports.