Overwatch League, Hearthstone Masters Tour and Grandmasters as well as World of Warcraft with Arena World Championship and Mythic Dungeon International live and in highlights on both channels eSPORTS1 and eSportsONE
Activision Blizzard is expanding its distribution rights with SPORT1‘s pan-European channel project, following the conclusion of their initial two-year deal signed with the launch of eSPORTS1 in 2019. The multi-year agreement renews the TV-exclusive rights to the Overwatch League from the start of the season on April 16 across Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The deal also extends the rights to the Hearthstone Masters Tour and Grandmasters for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, along with eSportsONE in the European region. New in the program portfolio is World of Warcraft with the events Arena World Championship and Mythic Dungeon International, with their respective Season 1 finals taking place April 23-25 and May 1-2.
Brandon Snow, Chief Revenue Officer – Leagues: “SPORT1 has been key in introducing new fans to Overwatch League and Hearthstone throughout Europe and the German speaking region. We are thrilled to continue bringing these epic competitions to all of our fans in the region, while expanding this deal with World of Warcraft’s premier programs.“
Daniel von Busse, COO TV and Member of the Management of Sport1 GmbH: “By extending our partnership with Activision Blizzard to the pan-European region, we gain another central content partner for our first international channel project. The extension of our cooperation with one of the most important global players strengthens the portfolio of our two pay channels for the coming years and, together with our other partners, forms a strong basis for further growth in the esports area.“
Overwatch League has started new season on April 16
The Overwatch League is the first global esports league with teams from numerous world cities in Asia, Europe and North America. On April 16, 2021, the Overwatch League started its fourth season – divided into an East Region with eight teams and a West Region with twelve teams. The four tournament series are spread throughout the year and end with the competitions “May Melee“, “June Joust“, “Summer Showdown“ and “Countdown Cup“. The top four teams in the East and the top six in the West then compete against each other in a knockout format, with the crowning glory being the top two teams from each region playing each other in the grand tournament final. The prize money totals 4.25 million USD.
Hearthstone Masters Tour and Grandmasters are in full-swing
Hearthstone is the world‘s most popular digital competitive card game. In 2021, six Masters Tour events will take place, all of which will be played online. The season kicked off last month with the Masters Tour Eisenschmiede. Masters Tour tournaments award points toward qualifying for the Hearthstone Grandmasters. Each Masters Tour event has a prize pool of 250,000 USD. In the Hearthstone Grandmasters, which began April 9, players compete in weekly tournaments for the first seven weeks of the season. After the seventh week, playoff participation will be decided based on total points. The champions from all three regions will be up for a spot in the 2021 World Championship later this year.
World of Warcraft (WoW) new in the portfolio of eSPORTS1 and eSportsONE
Starting this year, the two channels will also show World of Warcraft (WoW) for the first time: The Arena World Championship (AWC) has been divided into two different seasons for its 14th edition. In the Circuit, the top 8 teams compete for a prize pool of 160,000 USD in March and April. The top four teams will play in the finals of Season 1 for 200,000 USD on May 1-2. Season 2 will then start directly at the Circuit in July and August – with the fight for the four slots in the Grand Finals and the championship title of the AWC: Shadowlands Champions 2021. The Mythic Dungeon International (MDI) also includes two Seasons in 2021 – with a total prize pool of 750,000 USD. There will be four cups per season – the first season Global Finals took place April 23-25.
24/7 program for the esports community: What eSPORTS1 and eSportsONE offer
eSPORTS1 started in January 2019 as the first linear TV channel for esports in the German-speaking region. The program includes at least 1,200 live hours of top-class international and national esports events as well as highlight shows and in-house produced magazines. eSPORTS1 is currently distributed in Germany, Austria and Switzerland via the pay-TV platforms of Vodafone, Unitymedia, Deutsche Telekom, 1&1, T-Mobile Austria, A1 Telekom, UPC Switzerland, Swisscom blue TV, Amazon Channels, Zattoo and Waipu.tv. On each of these platforms, the channel is offered in selected program packages. In addition, eSPORTS1 can also be booked as a live stream in the eSPORTS1 app.
After the successful launch of eSPORTS1, Sport1 GmbH implemented a pan-European channel project for the first time with the start of eSportsONE. The 24/7 program of eSportsONE comprises over 1,000 live hours per year of top-class international esports events as well as exclusive, self-produced analysis formats. eSportsONE is currently offered in Belgium, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, as well as in Norway and Sweden via M7’s pay-TV platforms – TV Vlaanderen, CanalDigitaal and Skylink – and Telenor.
Central content partners of Sport1 GmbH besides Activision Blizzard are ESL, NBA 2K League and Psyonix with the esports titles Dota 2, Starcraft 2, Warcraft 3, NBA 2K and Rocket League.