Disney just put a big bet on eSports.
ESPN signed a contract with Bobby Kotick Activision Blizzard (] for television rights in the Overwatch eSports League ̵ )
The multi-year deal brings the playoffs and finals of the Overwatch League to ABC, ESPN, ESPN 2 and Disney XD. It will be the first time that eSports has aired on ABC, and ESPN has been hosting the event for the first time in primetime.
Related: Why ESPN Big in Basketball
Competitive Gaming attracts a huge audience that likes to watch people playing video games. More than 360 million people watched a live stream of the League of Legends 2017 eSports competition. This popularity has sparked the interest of the International Olympic Committee, which is considering turning eSports into an Olympic sport.
While the comparisons between digital and television broadcasts are typically apples to oranges, the eSports viewers have seen the 111.3 million people who watched the Super Bowl 2017, and the 30 million who voted for last year's NBA finals have dwarfed.
This year's Overwatch Quarterfinals began on July 11th. The contest ends with the Grand Finals taking place on July 27th and 28th at the Barclays Center in New York, airing on ESPN and Disney XD. The Overwatch League is a global company with teams from across Asia, Europe and North America.
"The Overwatch League Grand Finals is by far the most comprehensive television program for an eSports event on a single weekend" Disney ( and ESPN Executive Vice President Justin Connolly said in a statement. )
CNNMoney (New York) First published July 11, 2018: 18:34 ET