Disney just put a big bet on eSports.
ESPN signed a deal with Bobby Koticks Activision Blizzard (] for tv rights to the Overwatch eSports league ̵ )
The multi-year deal gives overclocked playoffs and finals to ABC, ESPN, ESPN 2 and Disney XD. It will mark the first time eSports has broadcast on ABC and the first time ESPN has conducted the event in primetime.
Related: Why ESPN goes big on basketball
Competitive game attracts the big crowd eager to see people playing video games. More than 360 million people watched a live streaming of a competition from the 2017 "League of Legends" eSports. That kind of popularity has attracted interest from the International Olympic Committee, which is considering making eSports an Olympic sport.
While comparison between digital and television broadcasts is usually apples for oranges, the eSport audience has obscured the 111.3 million people who watched the Super Bowl 2017 and the 30 million that matched last year's NBA finals.
Overwatch quarter finals of the year started on July 11th. The competition ends with the Grand Finals, which will take place on July 27 and 28 at the Barclays Center in New York and will air on ESPN and Disney XD. Overwatch League is a global endeavor, with teams from all over Asia, Europe and North America.
"The Overwatch League Grand Finals is by far our most comprehensive television distribution for an eSports event in a single weekend", Disney ( and ESPN Executive Vice President Justin Connolly said in a statement. )
CNNMoney (New York) First published July 11, 2018: 06:34 ET