Overwatch League Officially Over as Teams Vote for Exit
The Overwatch League by Activision Blizzard is officially concluding approximately five years after its initiation. Overwatch esports is undergoing a ‘transition’ away from the Overwatch League, as a majority of team franchises voted to terminate the league’s current structure. The decision follows a vote among team franchise owners, where at least two-thirds voted to exit the league, leading to its conclusion and the current franchised model.
Toronto Defiant owner OverActive Media’s announcement of exiting the League and receiving a $6 million payout was an early indication that the vote had succeeded. Although OverActive Media, being a publicly traded company, is obligated to disclose such transactions, other franchise owners may not be required to do so. Activision Blizzard assures that Overwatch esports will persist despite the league’s termination, expressing gratitude to those who contributed to the Overwatch League and indicating plans for a revitalized esports program.
In a statement, Activision Blizzard mentioned, “We are transitioning from the Overwatch League and evolving competitive Overwatch in a new direction. We are grateful to everyone who made OWL possible and remain focused on building our vision of a revitalised esports programme. We are excited to share details with you all in the near future.” Additionally, reports suggest that the Overwatch League is in discussions with third-party tournament organizers to manage Overwatch esports in the future.
The conclusion of the Overwatch League marks the end of a turbulent period for the Overwatch esports scene. Launched in 2018 with significant investments from mainstream sports executives, corporations, and esports stakeholders, the league faced challenges such as the cancellation of its home-and-away LAN format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite a brief viewership boost with the launch of Overwatch 2, the league struggled with low revenue and discontent among team owners.
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