Just ahead of the Overwatch League’s debut season, Blizzard and Twitch announced a multiyear deal that would see every match of e-sports league broadcast on the streaming service. Now, the two companies are revealing a series of features designed to further enhance the viewing experience and offer bonuses to those who watch on Twitch.
For fans who “cheer” in Twitch chat (cheering involves using animated chat emotes purchased with real money) during matches, they’ll have a chance to earn in-game items like rare character skins and exclusive new emotes. Viewers will also have a chance to earn “league tokens” — a form of virtual currency in Overwatch exclusively used to buy in-game league jerseys — simply by watching matches through to the end. (You’ll also need to connect your Battle.net and Twitch accounts.) Outside of those features, Twitch says it’s also “developing a VIP ticket to the best of the Overwatch League that unlocks even more in-game items, behind-the-scenes video content on Twitch, and plenty of other perks to be announced.”
The partnership between Twitch and Blizzard runs through the league’s first two seasons, with ESPN reporting that the deal is worth an estimated $90 million. According to Blizzard, more than 10 million people watched Overwatch League matches during its opening week in January, with an average audience of 280,000 viewers over that span. The Overwatch League returns for its second stage this evening, which will include a number of new player signings, among them is the league’s first female player, Kim “Geguri” Se-Yeon of the Shanghai Dragons.
Tonight’s opening match between the Seoul Dynasty and Los Angeles Valiant airs at 7PM ET.