OWL and IBM Are Teaming Up to Change the Way You Watch Esports

Esports attracting more and more attention.

The comparison between esports and traditional sports has been made countless times and while some still ardently argue that it doesn’t deserve that recognition, they are now becoming the minority. Despite this somewhat vocal minority however, esports are attracting a lot of attention from both spectators and even big-name companies.

One example of this is IBM, who signed a three-year deal with OWL as their cloud and analytics sponsor through the 2022 season. While the amount of money IBM is paying for this kind of partnership is unknown, the deal calls for the company to use machine learning and their natural language processing abilities to help improve rankings for the league.

“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,” Chief revenue officer of Activison Blizzard Esports, “Brandon Snow added in a statement “This is a fantastic benefit to our viewers, and we’re very excited to be announcing it during the biggest event of our season.”

IBM to change the way Esports are watched

Not only will IBM be working to improve OWL’s ranking system, they will also be analyzing over three years of players statistical data to use during broadcasts. Beyond that, IBM’s AI technology will allow for predictive outcomes to matches. That means commentators will now have the capabilities to fully flesh out the strategies of each team and what weaknesses each side has

“We’re thrilled to bring our world-class cloud platforms and Watson portfolio to one of the leading esports platforms in the world,” Noah Syken, IBM’s vice president of sports and entertainment partnerships, said. “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.”

In all honesty, this is going to revolutionize the way people watch and understand esports, which could open it up to an even bigger group of people. For example, what if IBM and OWL league could create a broadcast presentation that caters to both the longtime fan that tunes in weekly and the casual viewer watching for the first time.

Now, it might take some time to achieve such a perfect balance during a broadcast, but with how accessible esports already are and IBM’s technological capabilities, it could only be a matter of time before OWL brings in the same kind of audience as a weekly NFL game. Maybe esports could even end up passing traditional sports in viewership and become the official new pastime of poeple around the world.

Tik tok getting in on the action

IBM isn’t the only big-name company dipping their toes into the esports pool however, as Tik tok also announced they would now be the principal partner of the London based team, the Tundra. The china owned media company already made waves in the esports world this year after hosting the Tik Tok Cup, which touted a prize pool of 60,000 dollars.

As a part of the deal made between the two sides, the London Tundra will wear a Tik Tok logo near the top of their uniform and it will all be made by Italian sportswear company, Kappa. What makes this such a great deal for both the Tundra and Tik Tok is the fact that the social media platform is already engrained in esports culture, with video game content racking up a great chunk of views each day on the app.

Who will partner with Esports next?

What’s interesting about all this though is the fact that everyone seems to want a part of the esports industry right now. It’s almost as if companies are waking up to what kind of reach esports have and want to be a part of it. The only question that remains however, is what kind of other partnerships are going to happen along the way and how will they affect the course of esports history?

In the end, the sky seems to be the limit on this one and it should be very interesting to watch esports evolve with the help of IBM. Again, this will fundamentally change the way that people look at esports and might make it more approachable to the casual fan. That could end up being the key to esports future success and IBM teaming up with them is a step in that direction direction.