Recently, Bilibili Esports reportedly signed an exclusive broadcast deal with Activision Blizzard for the rights to air the Overwatch League (OWL) in China. According to The Esports Observer and Pandaily, Bilibili confirmed it was given exclusive broadcasting distribution rights to air OWL events in China. Financial details of this move have not been disclosed at this time.
Back in April of 2020, it was reported that Bilibili was replacing Banana Culture as the league’s official Chinese production partner. Since then, the organization has obtained the broadcast rights to the Chinese Overwatch Contenders and Overwatch Open Division tournaments.
The fourth season of the Overwatch League began back on April 16th after being founded in 2016. Eight of the 20 teams will play in Asia while the others continue to stream their matches without in-person attendance.
Bilibili Esports was founded in China in 2010. It is currently traded on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol “BILI”. As of 10:00 AM EST on April 22nd, 2021, one share of stock in BILI is valued at $106.41
The Profit‘s Take:
The fact that anyone is paying upfront for Overwatch League media rights at this point is a miracle. However, Bilibili seems to have decided that, given they are the smaller streaming player in China, they need to buy up media rights for franchised esports leagues. They scooped League of Legends media rights for China previously. Now Overwatch League. I can almost guarantee the sum paid was small because it was not disclosed. There’s just no evidence yet that paying for media rights will be the winning strategy for streaming platforms.