Activision Blizzard has announced the Overwatch League’s newest commissioner as Pete Vlastelica. Earlier this year, former Commissioner Nate Nanzer left to join Epic Games. This is the first time news has been released about the role after Nanzer’s departure from the game publisher in May. Vlastelica joined Activision Blizzard as its President & CEO for Esports in September of 2016.
Pete Vlastelica graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s in public policy. He then went on five years later to pursue his MBA at the University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Afterward, Vlastelica went on to found sports media startup Yardbarker, which is one of the largest networks of sports blogs on the web. The company was acquired by Fox Sports Interactive in 2010, where he transitioned to a Senior Vice President and General Manager role. During his time at Fox Sports, he served as SVP of Product Strategy as well as Executive VP of Digital Strategy.
“Over the years I have developed close relationships with our owners and have gotten familiar with the product,” said Pete Vlastelica when asked about the role. “When the commissioner role opened up, we thought it was important to install someone into that position who had a broad view of the challenges and opportunities the league is facing, as well as the right relationships to move things forward quickly. It turns out that was me.” Vlastelica later goes on to say that his top priorities as a commissioner are for the fans, owners, partners, and employees of the Overwatch League to be “happy.”
As reported on TEO, viewership for the Overwatch League has been declining compared to last year. This also has to do with less viewership on Twitch, one of the main sources of esports-related content. Some in the community have attributed this decline to franchising in the OWL, since teams are named after a particular location. In other esports leagues, teams are typically known for their affiliation to an organization’s brand instead. Others have also said that while Overwatch may be fun to play, it isn’t spectator-friendly. The game’s competitive matches are often described as difficult to understand for new watchers.
Vlastelica’s announcement comes along with the unveiling of another game’s commissioner as well. The Call of Duty League or CDL is the new name for the former CWL Pro League. Former NFL executive Johanna Faries has been revealed as the first Commissioner for Call of Duty Esports.
How do you think Pete Vlastelica will do as the Overwatch League’s new commissioner? He faces some backlash from the community for previous choices. However, there is usually another side to a seemingly bad update to players. How will he compare to the former commissioner, Nate Nanzer?
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