IBM enters eSports world with Overwatch League

IBM enters eSports world with Overwatch League

11 October 2020

IBM enters eSports with a multi-year deal with the Overwatch League (Blizzard Activision), the world’s first global eSports league with 20 city-based teams. Under the terms of the agreement, IBM will bring its cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to eSports.

This partnership is IBM’s first move into the global world of eSports and adds up to the list of sports and entertainment deals that IBM technology powers around the world. The new deal, which covers the 2020 Grand Finals and the 2021 and 2022 seasons, kicked off October 8 at the 2020 Overwatch League Grand Finals with IBM being the official AI, cloud, and analytics sponsor of the competition.  

A win-win partnership

Starting next year, both partners will be working together to develop technology solutions leveraging IBM’s expertise in natural language processing and machine learning to improve the league’s rankings system, and utilize IBM’s Watson AI capabilities to create live and in-broadcast predictive analysis, with specific solutions currently under development.

We’re constantly striving to give fans the ability to more meaningfully engage with the Overwatch League, and teaming up with IBM enables us to just do that, said Brandon Snow, Chief Revenue Officer of Activision Blizzard eSports. IBM's cutting-edge AI and machine learning, underpinned by cloud technologies, will help enable us to bring interactive and innovative engagement opportunities to our fans and teams. This is a fantastic benefit to our viewers, and we're very excited to be announcing it during the biggest event of our season.

"We're thrilled to bring our world class Cloud platforms and Watson portfolio to one of the leading eSports platforms in the world," added Noah Syken, Vice President of Sports & Entertainment Partnerships, IBM. "The solutions we're partnering to create can help the organizations, players, and fans enjoy an even more immersive, engaging experience. We look forward to working with the Overwatch League, to bring innovative solutions at scale, to broad and relevant audiences."