IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Tech leaders HP Inc. and Intel today joined forces with Blizzard Entertainment in major Overwatch League™ sponsorship deals that represent an extended investment in the groundbreaking professional league. As part of the multiyear agreements, Intel will sponsor future Overwatch® competitive events in addition to the Overwatch League.
Players taking part in these events will be equipped with cutting-edge gaming hardware from both HP and Intel. HP, and more specifically, its OMEN by HP gaming PCs and displays will be used exclusively for Overwatch League games, with PCs powered by Intel® Core™ i7 processors.
“We’re thrilled to be joining forces with HP and Intel to ensure that the teams competing professionally in Overwatch are equipped with top-end technology,” said Pete Vlastelica, president & CEO of Blizzard Entertainment’s Major League Gaming division. “Multiyear collaborations such as this illustrate the momentum behind the Overwatch League as well as a long-term commitment by us and our partners in what we see as the future of esports.”
“Working with Blizzard Entertainment as a global technology partner of the Overwatch League is the perfect way to celebrate esports talent and showcase our hardware within the competitive gaming arena,” said Alex Craddock, global head of marketing, personal systems at HP Inc. “OMEN hardware has been widely adopted by many of the world’s top esports professionals, and we’re thrilled to help power the gameplay for the Overwatch League.”
“For more than 12 years Intel has consistently supported the esports community and we’re always looking for ways to help improve how they play, watch, and compete. We’re proud to sponsor the Overwatch League and equip all competition PCs with Intel® Core™ i7 processors to contribute to a great experience for fans and competitors,” said John Bonini, VP and general manager of the VR, gaming, and esports group, Intel. “The Overwatch League will be a great showcase for esports, and we’re excited to be a part of it with Blizzard.”
The Overwatch League represents a unique opportunity for sponsors, with a city-based structure that supports engagement and a deeper connection to local fan bases around the world. Esports have already captured the attention of more than 280 million people worldwide—a community that includes some of the hardest-to-reach and most sought-after demographics, including a share of millennials two to three times higher than any of the “Big Four” US sports. The Overwatch League is based around Blizzard Entertainment’s blockbuster hit Overwatch, which quickly became the company’s fastest-growing game following its release last year and recently reached a new milestone of 35 million players.
The inaugural season of the Overwatch League begins with the first regular season match on January 10, 2018, and runs until June, with playoffs and finals scheduled for July. Preseason play will begin next month, on December 6, with a series of exhibition matches featuring the inaugural 12 teams. All Overwatch League preseason and regular-season games for 2018 will take place at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles, a state-of-the-art live-event venue in Burbank, California, custom-renovated for Blizzard Entertainment esports events. Information on Overwatch League ticket sales will be announced in the coming weeks.
About the Overwatch League™
The Overwatch League™ is the first major global professional esports league with city-based teams across Asia, Europe, and North America. Overwatch® was created by globally acclaimed publisher Blizzard Entertainment (a division of Activision Blizzard—Nasdaq: ATVI), whose iconic franchises have helped lay the foundations and push the boundaries of professional esports over the last 15 years. The latest addition to Blizzard’s stable of twenty-one #1 games, Overwatch was built from the ground up for online competition, with memorable characters and fast-paced action designed for the most engaging gameplay and spectator experiences. To learn more about the Overwatch League, visit www.overwatchleague.com.
HP Inc. creates technology that makes life better for everyone, everywhere. Through our portfolio of printers, PCs, mobile devices, solutions, and services, we engineer experiences that amaze. More information about HP Inc. is available at http://www.hp.com.
© 2017 Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. OVERWATCH, OVERWATCH LEAGUE, BLIZZARD and BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT are trademarks of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. MAJOR LEAGUE GAMING is a trademark of Major League Gaming Corp.
 Newzoo, 2017
 Esports audience demographic from Blizzard Consumer Insights survey of 5,000 global esports viewers, 2016; US professional sports demographics from Barclays ‘Future of Sports: Aggregator of Platforms', September 2016
 Sales and/or downloads, based on internal company records and reports from key distribution partners
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements: Information in this press release that involves Blizzard Entertainment's expectations, plans, intentions or strategies regarding the future, including statements about the dates and features of the Overwatch League and the sponsorship arrangements with HP and Intel for Overwatch esports, are forward-looking statements that are not facts and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause Blizzard Entertainment's actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements set forth in this release include unanticipated product delays and other factors identified in the risk factors sections of Activision Blizzard’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. The forward-looking statements in this release are based upon information available to Blizzard Entertainment and Activision Blizzard as of the date of this release, and neither Blizzard Entertainment nor Activision Blizzard assumes any obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements believed to be true when made may ultimately prove to be incorrect. These statements are not guarantees of the future performance of Blizzard Entertainment or Activision Blizzard and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond its control and may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.