Activision Blizzard has finalised a deal that makes YouTube its "exclusive worldwide third-party provider" for livestreaming.
The "multi-year strategic relationship to power new player experiences" sees Google Cloud serve as the "preferred provider for Activision Blizzard's game hosting infrastructure", and YouTube as its "exclusive streaming partner worldwide", excluding China.
This means YouTube, not Twitch, will host the live broadcasts of the inaugural Call of Duty League season when it kicks off on 24th January, as well as Overwatch League's 2020 season, which starts on February 8th.
Esports lives on @YouTubeGaming.— Ryan Wyatt (@Fwiz) January 24, 2020
Welcome to the family, Overwatch League, Call of Duty League, and Hearthstone Esports.
Let?s get this thing going with the inaugural season of the Call of Duty league kicking off today! https://t.co/9PAUaaQSz0https://t.co/p9kSbD9aAi pic.twitter.com/rBVpf0Re3H
The details of the deal weren't specified, but by comparison, a similar deal Activision struck with Twitch in 2018 was thought to be worth around $90 million (thanks SportsBusiness Journal, via PC Gamer). Google says Activision Blizzard "turned to Google Cloud because of its highly reliable global footprint, advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, and commitment to open source, creating a platform for building future gaming innovations".
It's a massive deal for YouTube, which has been struggling to compete with streaming industry leaders Twitch and Mixer.
"This is an exciting year for Activision Blizzard Esports as we head into the inaugural season of Call of Duty League and our first ever season of homestands for Overwatch League all around the world," said Pete Vlastelica, CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports.
"It's our mission to deliver high-quality competitive entertainment that our fans can follow globally, live or on-demand, and to celebrate our players as the superstars that they are. This partnership will help us deliver on that promise at new levels, by combining our passionate communities of fans and players with YouTube's powerful content platform and exciting history of supporting next-generation entertainment."
"With more than 200 million gamers a day watching more than 50 billion hours of gaming content per year, YouTube provides gamers and their passionate fans with the most popular video gaming platform in the world," added Ryan Wyatt, Head of Gaming, YouTube. "Both the Overwatch League and Call of Duty League are the quintessential examples of world class esports content. As a former Call of Duty esports commentator myself, I couldn't be more excited for Activision Blizzard to choose YouTube as its exclusive home for the digital live streaming of both leagues. This partnership further demonstrates our dedication to having a world-class live streaming product for gaming."