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Home / Technology / Philadelphia Fusion's strong finish shows how e-sport can fill arena seats

Philadelphia Fusion's strong finish shows how e-sport can fill arena seats



If professional video game teams competed in sports arenas offering pro basketball and hockey games, would there be anything?

The answer shown at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Friday and Saturday seems to be a resounding yes.

The sixth seeded Philadelphia Fusion lost to fifth-seeded London Spitfire, 2-0, in initial grandfinals of the e-Sport Overwatch League in front of a sold out audience at the Barclays Center of 20,000 seats, with more watching the ESPN championship and streaming platform twitch. Play-by-play advertisers, or "wheels," commented on the screen and analyzed the match between rounds. Event tickets were originally priced at $ 60 and cost up to $ 200 on resale sites.

"To pack a big arena in a big market and also be on ESPN and [cable channel] Disney XD, the future is light" for the Overwatch League, Fusion Finance Director Joe Marsh said. "I think people are going to think that the Overwatch League is here to stay."

As young adults continue to cut their wires and several e-sports games introduce professional leagues, the e-sports show continues to grow, according to a report from the market research company Newzoo.

The report predicts that the global e-sports audience will grow to 380.2 million this year, up from 335 million people in 201

7. The company estimates revenues to rise from $ 655.3 million in 2017 to $ 905.6 million in 2018, and the e-sports industry will reach $ 1.4 billion by 2020.

E-sports show is becoming increasingly common with a recent multi-year deal between Disney and Activision Blizzard Inc., the makers of Overwatch, for air league matches on The company's channels, including ESPN networks and the Disney XD channel. The company's coverage started July 11 with playoffs on Disney XD and continued through the final, which was broadcast on ESPN networks.

"ESPN has many channels, so I expect a lot of Overwatch to be on these channels," he said. Laura Martin, Senior Analyst of Entertainment and Internet Companies with Needham & Co. LLC. She said the deal was made so recently that "ESPN just did not have time to fly it" so often this year, but the amount of coverage on these channels will increase when Overwatch is incorporated into the company's programming plan. [19659009] The best of three series took place over two days, with Fusion losing the first match in the series, 3-1, Friday and the other, 3-0, Saturday. Philadelphia fans who made the trip to see the final were scattered throughout the audience after the franchise charter bus had brought the fans to the event for free. Fans of both teams cheered and pounded noisemakers together during the match, while color-changing bracelets blinked the franchise colors throughout the arena.

With his second place, Philadelphia earned $ 400,000 of the $ 1.4 million prize pool, which was to be shared between teams and players. This takes the team's total prize money to $ 525,000 during the season: The merger won $ 25,000 and $ 100,000 from previous playoff success this year.

E-sport, a common term for online video games, is especially popular in the twenties. Game developers say there are now over 40 million Overwatch players worldwide, and Fusion CFO Marsh said that more than 300,000 of these players live in the Philadelphia region.

This year, Comcast Spectacor bought a team game in the new Overwatch League for a reported $ 20 million and formed the merger. The team plays in Flyers' orange, white and black colors, and was one of 12 teams in the league who fought each other to achieve goals in the Overwatch video game – similar to the children's game king of the ground – before a live audience and hundreds of thousands of viewers on online. The game is a first-person team-based shooter with six players per team playing at a time.

E-sport team, including Philadelphia, receives a portion of the league's revenue and additional profits through merchandise, as well as jersey partnership, signals and venues from playoff wins. Having built up the team's fan base in its first season, Marsh said that Fusion focuses on making the franchise more profitable during the next year and beyond.

"We made a careful effort in the 2018 season to truly build our brand," he said, calling the 2018 season a "building block" for the franchise. "We learned that in order to earn money on your asset, you must have an authentic brand and really be able to connect with your brand base, your sponsors and your advertisers with your brand."

The merger has employed a collaborator to build up the team's relationship with jersey and digital sponsors. One of the next steps, said Marsh, decides "proper size and facilities" for an e-sports venue in Philadelphia. Because the games were played in Burbank, Calif. This season, the team strongly supported social media along with parties associated with connecting with local fans.

Since January, Fusion has achieved more than 72,000 followers on Twitter and over 4,800 members at Discord, a game communication website. A group of fans also started a boost club, called "Fusion Fam", who has engaged the team and its players on Twitter.


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COURTNEY BECKER / STAFF

Philadelphia Fusion fans traveled to the Barclays Center in New York City to see that the team competed in the championship on Saturday. Philadelphia lost to London, 2-0, to finish others in the league in front of a sold-out audience and at ESPN.

Fusion fans already appeared after the team's championship leap as they chanted "season two" in Barclays Center immediately after the match. Courtney Miller, a Philadelphia Fusion fan who traveled to New York for the final, said Fusion and the fans were to be proud of the season and the tournament championship.

"I think it's not just great for the Overwatch League, it's great for e-sports in general," she said.

League will only be "bigger and better every year," said Mike Berenato, a Fusion fan from the Deptford area. "I think with Blizzard, they can take it as far as they want. I think what Blizzard has done this year will bust it open to just about any game that can get as much of one as Overwatch has."



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