Since its inception in 2017, the Overwatch League has been Activision Blizzard’s professional esports program over watch Hero Shooter – has often drawn comparisons to traditional sports institutions. His stated goal as WIRED included it in a 2017 featureshould become the new US National Football League.
The two institutions certainly overlapped: the Overwatch League was the first major esports league to franchise local teams in major cities, and it features live spectator events with hometown viewers and staffed athletes. The goal was to offer esports fans a more traditional sports model, where they can walk into a local arena or venue, see their hometown team play against an “away team,” and cheer during the event. The model offered local pop-up stores, team merchandise, ticket sales, media rights and licenses.
Well-known sports magnates are co-owners of several eSports teams. Steve Bornstein was CEO of the NFL Network before becoming Blizzard’s eSports chairman. (He told WIRED in 2017, “When I left the NFL, the only thing I saw that had the potential to be that big was the esports space.”) There wasn’t a stronger symbol for them League ambitions as plans for a Philadelphia Fusion Stadium: $50 million 65,000 square meter arena with 3,500 seatsplanned to turn Philadelphia into a “esports city.”
As Cecilia D’Anastasio recently unveiled According to Bloomberg, Activision Blizzard lured team buyers with projected league sales of $125 million by 2020. That money didn’t materialize. Although buoyed by the release of surveillance 2and the start of a new season of the Overwatch League, Viewership has shrunk. The Overwatch League 2022 Summer Showdown, for example, was less popular than the previous two years’ events with just 51,000 peak viewers, according to Esports Charts – particularly annoying considering franchise owners are paying over 20 million dollars to license a team.
Questionable moves – such as switching the Overwatch League’s primary broadcast medium from Amazon-owned Twitch, the web’s most popular site for live streaming game content, Early 2020 on YouTube– drove the viewers away. Shortly after this move, COVID-19 ended the live events and tournaments that breathed life into the league, as well as the international travel that players had to rely on to get quickly from their hometowns to games. In addition to all of these factors Allegations of Abuse and Harassment Within Activision Blizzard Guided players, advertisers and sponsors leave leaguewhich is forcing the company to scale back some of its growth ambitions.
In 2023 is the league path to profitability is unclear. The pessimism is compounded by the uncertain future of its pioneer Bobby Kotick and Activision Blizzard’s decision 50 esports employees laid off in 2021. The US Federal Trade Commission is already trying to block the company’s $69 billion acquisition from microsoft. To say the league has had a rough time in recent years is an understatement.
The latest development in this saga is the renaming of the Philadelphia Fusion, one of the league’s most popular teams, to the Seoul Infernal. The team will relocate and become the second Seoul-based team alongside the existing Seoul Dynasty. (The most over watch Players are South Koreansand most of the competition moved there during the pandemic, while Comcast owns Korean company T1 Entertainment and Sports.) The stadium has been abandoned and is becoming a retail facility instead.
This article was previously published on Source link