The Overwatch 2 community is stumped and confused because it seems that the Overwatch League has decided to remain exclusive to YouTube, despite the fact that there is no streaming deal, and the Call of Duty League is now allowed to stream on multiple platforms as well.
Streaming deals for esports leagues have long been a contentious issue for viewers of their games. While the deal brings an influx of cash to the scene, it also limits reach and leaves some of the game’s content creators out in the cold when it comes to co-streaming. Overwatch fans are rightly wondering why, without an exclusive deal, the OWL is only streamed on YouTube and not Twitch.
MARK THOSE CALENDARS 🗓️
Only a few weeks left until the #OWL2023 season begins! Which matches are you most excited for?
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) April 18, 2023
OWL streams exclusively on YouTube without a deal
This is exactly the situation Activision-Blizzard faced before when they struck an exclusive streaming deal in January 2020 to broadcast both the Call of Duty League and the Overwatch League to YouTube and YouTube only.
But now, in 2023, the contract appears to have expired. The CDL has already begun streaming on both Twitch and YouTube, allowing for co-streams of games for content creators to participate in on both platforms. This has resulted in the CDL recording a record number of viewers since the move.
However, the OWL, which is now gearing up for the 2023 season, still appears to be YouTube-only, though no exclusive deals have been finalized. Even though the Contenders scene is already multistreaming on Twitch and YouTube, fans are at a loss as to exactly what’s going on.
New viewership record on @CODLeague
— Esports Charts 🇺🇦 (@EsportsCharts) March 12, 2023
Mixed feelings among the fans
On April 18th, the OWL announced the schedule for the first weekend and urged fans to watch gaming on YouTube. No mention was made of Twitch or any other platform. The recently concluded Pro-Am tournament was also streamed exclusively on YouTube.
Sad to see OWL 2023 on YouTube again after seeing contenders do so well on Twitch. Massive L imo
— LG Jay3 (@Jay3OW) April 18, 2023
The announcement was greeted with enthusiasm by many fans who have been excited for the league’s return, however, there seems to have been just as much disappointment at the fact that it will only stream on YouTube.
Apply, a former OWL gamer-turned-streamer, responded with a widely shared quip, simply commenting with a disappointed gif and the caption: “youtube gaming”. The response was widely used by both CDL and OWL fans during the deal to poke fun at the situation.
“Contenders and Call of Duty League are multi-streamers, it feels strange. I don’t understand the train of thought here. Such an easy way to get more reach.”