Chronicle of a death foretold: Overwatch League

Now yes, it is no longer speculation or belief. Today has been sealed the end of the Overwatch League after five years since its inception. This is the result of the vote that we have been announcing since the weekend and that has finally concluded with more than 2/3 of the teams asking for its exit.

The Overwatch League had been in limbo since the end of its last season in October after Activision Blizzard revealed that a vote would be held among franchise owners on whether to discontinue the league as currently structured. With this outcome, franchises would receive a $6 million termination payment to exit the league.

Signs that the vote would go this way came yesterday when Toronto Defiant owner OverActive Media announced that it had exited the league and received the $6 million payment, which had been announced for months and never hidden by the entity. OverActive Media is a publicly traded company, so it must disclose significant financial transactions, while other franchise owners do not necessarily have to do so.

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However, Activision Blizzard has said that. Overwatch eSports will continue regardless of the vote. In a statement sent out, the Overwatch developer said:

We are transitioning 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 for a revitalized eSports program. We are excited to share details with all of you in the near future..

Statement from Activision Blizzard.

In addition, according to media reports, the Overwatch League has been in talks with outside tournament organizers to run Overwatch eSports in the future. The end of the Overwatch League will mark the culmination of a difficult period for the Overwatch eSports scene. The League launched with big ambitions in 2018 with participation from top esports executives, corporations and eSports stakeholders. Team owners paid $20 million for franchised slots, with subsequent expansion teams paying even more.

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However, the league’s enterprising back-and-forth LAN format would be largely canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The league had poor viewership and low revenue, despite a brief boost from the release of Overwatch 2, leading to widespread discontent among team owners.

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