Activision Blizzard announce multi-year YouTube streaming partnership with Google

The Call of Duty League opened Friday at The Armory in Minneapolis. Activision Blizzard announced Friday that the league has entered a deal with Google to exclusively stream the CDL, Overwatch League, Hearthstone and World of Warcraft on YouTube. Emily Rand for ESPN

Activision Blizzard and Google announced an exclusive multi-year relationship in the world of esports on Friday.

The organizations announced YouTube will serve as the exclusive streaming partner for live broadcasts of Activision Blizzard's esports leagues and events, including Overwatch League, Call of Duty League and Hearthstone esports.

The inaugural Call of Duty League began Friday with 12 teams competing in Minnesota, while the Overwatch League's 2020 season is set to start on Feb. 8. As of 6 p.m. ET, just ahead of the first match of the CDL season, viewership crested 71,000 on the league's live page.

All competitions in all three esports will be livestreamed on each league's YouTube channel and will include archived content as well as original programming outside of match days. Call of Duty, the Overwatch League, Hearthstone and World of Warcraft will all operate their own YouTube channels.

"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," Ryan Wyatt, the Head of Gaming for YouTube, said in a statement.

"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."

Pete Vlastelica, CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports, was also thrilled with the new venture.

"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," Vlastelica said in a statement. "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."

-- Field Level Media