The decisive moment for the Overwatch League is coming. Coming soon teams will have to vote to decide what they do, and it is very likely that they will vote to withdraw and receive a $6 million payout as we have been reporting. In addition, according to various rumors, the new Overwatch League will Will likely be run by an outside tournament organizer.; the publisher has been in discussions with ESL FACEIT Group of Savvy Games Group.
Savvy Games Group is owned by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), and its chairman is Saudi Crown Prince MBS.
As reported by The Esports Advocate, it has approached several tournament organizers to ask if they were negotiating with Activision Blizzard to host the Overwatch League in 2024. A PGL source told them that they were not talking to Activision Blizzard about OWL, while a BLAST representative told them at the time that, “We have nothing to say at this time, [pero] we will let you know if that ever changes“. Other tournament organizers, including ESL FACEIT Group, did not respond to requests for comment.
The favorite in the betting pools currently appears to be. Esports Engineaccording to journalist Jacob Wolf, which was acquired by ESL FACEIT Group in March as part of the purchase of parent company Vindex. Esports Engine currently handles the production and broadcasting of Activision Blizzard’s other franchised league, Call of Duty League (CDL). It’s an interesting choice (if true) because the company had a major round of layoffs in July in which approximately 65 employees were let go.
Activision Blizzard first shed light on its plan to give team owners the opportunity to vote and decide whether they wanted to exit the league when it reported its second-quarter 2023 financial results. At that time, a round of layoffs ensued in which nearly 50 CDL and OWL employees were laid off.
In September, news emerged that Activision Blizzard was in talks with outside tournament operators to run a revamped version of the league in 2024. In October, Toronto Defiant owner OverActive Media announced that Activision Blizzard had waived all outstanding registration fees for the Overwatch League. The company added that the “reversal of these fees” would be reflected in its fourth-quarter 2023 financial results. Those fees are valued at approximately $6 million. Other teams in the league were also granted fee waivers.
And if that wasn’t enough for Activision Blizzard and its 2024 e-sports plans, now its recently completed acquisition by Microsoft is on the table. It’s unclear how Microsoft feels about Activision Blizzard’s e-sports operations. and whether they will be affected by consolidation of operations, staff reductions or other factors that tend to occur after a major acquisition.
The final decision and outcome is imminent and we will be able to find out how a story that had been agonizing for 6 years ends.