YouTube deal with Activision Blizzard valued at $160m
Internet giant Google’s significant new partnership with Activision Blizzard, the prominent games publisher, to make YouTube the exclusive digital home of its esports events has been valued at around $160 million.
The reported figure comes from sources close to the deal.
As part of the three-year agreement, which was announced last month, YouTube will have exclusive live streaming rights to competitions including the Overwatch League, Call of Duty League and Hearthstone Esports in all territories except China.
The figure is significantly higher than the $90 million paid by previous rights-holder Twitch, the video portal owned by online retail giant Amazon, for the first two seasons of the Overwatch League.
It is believed that the majority of Google’s fee will go towards the established Overwatch League, with a lesser amount going to the Call of Duty League. Hearthstone was reportedly included in the deal for free.
The agreement includes bonus clauses if specific advertising sales and viewership numbers are met, which could increase the overall outlay.
The deal came into effect for the launch of the inaugural Call of Duty League season last month and ahead of the start of the Overwatch League’s 2020 season last week.
Single-platform rights deals have been the exception rather than the rule in the esports sector, as publishers and event organisers have tended to prioritise exposure over exclusivity.
Under the partnership, Google Cloud, the web hosting platform, will act as the preferred provider for Activision Blizzard’s game hosting infrastructure.
It is also a coup for YouTube after it last year moved to shut down its dedicated YouTube Gaming app in favour of a gaming-focused hub on the main website.
Meanwhile, Microsoft, the multinational technology company, has teamed up with major US sportswear brand Nike to create a Jordan-branded Xbox gaming console.
The limited edition Xbox One X console features the signature Jordan logo and has been designed to match a new shoe to be released by the brand this weekend.
However, the Jordan-branded Xbox will not be available to buy and will only be given away to fans as part of a competition on Twitter.
This is the latest limited-edition Xbox created by Microsoft after it partnered with Taco Bell, the popular international chain restaurant, last year to design a custom console.