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Home / Technology / Overwatch League looks forward to Esport's future, as London Spitfire makes history – The Denver Post

Overwatch League looks forward to Esport's future, as London Spitfire makes history – The Denver Post



NEW YORK – When the last Philadelphia hero was eliminated and left motionlessly on the animated map, the players removed their hands from the controls, confetti flared through the air and triumphant music scattered through the public address system at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Fans were on their feet and cheered, lifted their smart phones to record the moment: The first championship in the Overwatch League.

London Spitfire thundered Philadelphia Fusion on Saturday afternoon, an important milestone for a first year league that started playing in January with the revolutionary design of esports being played, structured and consumed. The confetti, the expensive fans, the raging atmosphere ̵

1; that was so much of the OWL dream as it was the league's blueprint.

Saturday marked the culmination of the opening season, and while the start-up match has spun it as a big success, it was just one step. The threatening transition to the local markets will ultimately define the success of not only the league, but also if its ambitious model really can transform the landscape of the esports.

"The city-based format has really taken a faster and bigger way than I expected," said Nate Nanzer, the League Commissioner, "and frankly, as I knew it would work – for all reasons that work in traditional sport. I just thought it might take more time. "

The League (OWL) was not built to be a fast-paced regime. It aims to have the living and the popularity of traditional sports leagues such as NBA or NFL, which connects with communities like the New York Yankees or New England Patriots, and produces revenue that blurs the line between games and sports.

"I think it's still a long-term game. One year in sports league trading is insignificant," said Jonathan Kraft, president of Kraft Group, who owns the OWL Boston Uprising franchise and also the New England Patriots. "We did this with an eye to build long-term asset value. "

Just before Saturday's championship formally brought the launch season to end, OWL officials had been busy plotting season 2 and beyond. ESPN recently reported that the league has completed agreements with three expansion franchises – one in Atlanta, one in Paris and another in Guangzhou, China – and as many as three can be on their way, each sells for $ 30-60 million. And while the league's most avid fans are used to following OWL games via live streaming Twitch, the league also signed a broadcasting agreement this month that will put future matches on ESPN and Disney channels.

While the league's online numbers exceeded the expectations of many team leaders – the broadcasts are located on average from 80,000 to 170,000 simultaneous viewers. Team and team members feel that their success for year 1 is just a preview of what's coming. They think the league still rolls down the track, and although there are some potential obstacles in the future, they feel they are following a plan that will revolutionize the eports.

"If the Overwatch League is successful, it has inherently changed the model for all publishers, for each league and for every team that exists in the world," said Noah Whinston, general manager of the Los Angeles Valiant franchise. "Having a local model on this scale has never been tried before. If this league succeeds, I think it throws a lot of conventional wisdom about esports completely outside the table."

The two groups of players sat at one stage at one end of the arena, dwarfed by the giant video scoreboard. The favored London Spitfire squad consisted of six Korean players, all of whom would be carded by any bartender in Brooklyn, and Philadelphia Fusion contained six players from five different countries. None of the players on the stage were American, and nobody had any concrete connection to the city he had represented in the last four months.

The news of OWL is the geolocating model where the 12 franchises are linked to specific cities, just like traditional sports leagues. It is a new formula and based on the early return, Blizzard, the game publisher, could eventually use the same approach with other titles, especially Call of Duty, a popular esport title for the last dozen years.


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