YouTube Gaming Signs Exclusivity Deal With COD League, Overwatch League, and Hearthstone Esports

by in Call of Duty | Jan, 24th 2020

The past few years have been reminiscent of the early days of the gold rush as esports orgs, brands, and streaming platforms race to lock down the talent that could bring them increased market share and huge profits. However, YouTube Gaming may have landed the biggest deal in recent memory by signing a one-of-a-kind exclusivity deal with Activision Blizzard for the COD League, the Overwatch League, as well as Hearthstone esports.

A Fresh Salvo in the Streaming Wars

After a few years of relative quiet following the launch of YouTube Gaming, the platform recently made their presence felt across the industry in a big way by inking several exclusivity deals with popular streamers such as CourageJD. Now YouTube Gaming has taken things to another level by not only finessing the Overwatch League away from their original streaming platform of choice, Twitch, but also managing to lock down deals with the COD League as well as Hearthstone.

The precise length, cost, and terms of their deal have yet to be revealed aside from the fact that it’s a “multi-year agreement” between Activision Blizzard and China that will be effective globally (excluding China). The news arrives barely an hour ahead of the launch for Activision Blizzard’s latest endeavor, the Call of Duty League, after weeks of fans asking for news on where they could view the event. The timing is indeed curious as, traditionally, events such as this let their viewers know far in advance where they can expect to watch so they can prepare ahead of time. However, despite the late announcement, excitement is still in the air as fans eagerly anticipate the upcoming spectacle.

Implications of the YouTube Gaming Exclusivity Deal

While it’s too early to say for certain, I can say with confidence that YouTube Gaming is likely entering this new exclusivity deal a very happy platform. Not only will this give them an edge over their direct competitors when it comes to some of the most popular games in the world, but it also sends a clear message to fans that YouTube and Google are taking their foray into the streaming wars very seriously.

Fwiz and his team have done an excellent job thus far of proving that YouTube Gaming can truly be a successful rival to Twitch, and you have to admire their willingness to disrupt the market with such fierce competition. Previously, Twitch has had an iron-clad grasp on its title of top streaming platform, whereas YouTube has always been the place to go for video on demand (VOD) content. But now that viewers can get the best of both worlds on YouTube, one has to wonder how Twitch will respond in the coming months. It’s hard to say how things will pan out as it’s still early days, but suffice it to say that 2020 is off to an incredible start thus far.


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