According to league sources, the Overwatch League (OWL) wishes to shift to a roadshow format, moving its teams to their home cities in time for its third season in 2020.
The OWL has currently been operating out of the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California. The league’s first ever finals will take place at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York. If the Overwatch League successfully geolocates its league, it will be the first in esports to do so. The aim to geolocate was a significant selling point for investors, as no other esports leagues in the world have done so.
OWL Commissioner Nate Nanzer gave a statement to ESPN:
We look forward to announcing details on the Overwatch League’s format for later seasons in the future. Together with our teams, we are evaluating a range of format options to realize the full potential of our global league. Based on the tremendous response we’ve seen from fans in local markets, including the growth of local supporters’ clubs and Overwatch League watch parties all over the world, it’s clear that there’s a high demand from fans to connect with Overwatch League teams in their home markets, and our goal has always been to move to a home-and-away format as soon as possible.
The method for touring the teams is not set in stone yet. However, one idea present is that all teams in the same division would visit one city, all at once. This way every team would tour each region across the world, similar to Formula1 racing. For example, Pacific Division teams would travel through the Midwestern United States, the American West Coast and then through Asia. Atlantic Division teams would travel through the American East Coast then to Europe. Commissioner Nanzer has said that the goal for the OWL would be to have 28 teams across the world. When the OWL gains that many teams, a home-and-away format could be possible.
Each side has many good points. For example, one positive towards geolocating would be that fans could interact and support their home team. Having a local fan base is very important in cultivating a good team environment. Connected to that is the possible revenue boost that comes with that same fanbase. If fans are able to see and interact with their home team, they will have more reasons to spend money on tickets and merchandise.
On the other hand, using this model would be very hard on the players. The constant travel would be tiring and would affect the players’ gameplay. Travel time would also eat into practice time for teams as well. Also, possible jet lag and Visa issues for certain players would be problems that the league would need to think about.
What do you think about the Overwatch League moving their teams to their home cities? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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Born and raised in Toronto. Sometimes a writer. Sometimes a creative director. Sometimes bored. Catch me with hundreds of unplayed games in my Steam library.