Overwatch League 2020
On March 15th, Nate Nanzer, a commissioner for the Overwatch League, announced that League teams would be playing in their home cities starting in 2020.
The @overwatchleague is coming home – and away! Starting in 2020, all Overwatch League teams will be playing in their home cities. We’re super excited to see our original vision brought to life. Thanks to all of our fans for your amazing support!
— Nate Nanzer (@natenanzer) March 15, 2019
The Overwatch League will be the first significant eSports league with home and home-away team models for games. That means that for next season, teams will be globetrotting around the world to compete. Currently, all the matches are taking place in Burbank, California.
Of course, this would take a toll on League players, as the teams are from all around the world. To counter this stress, teams would play multiple matches in a row, playing all the Asia-based teams in one trip for example.
Why City Names?
Naming the League teams after cities is a page right out of traditional sports. It was done in an attempt to make more casual players participate in the League. They’d be more likely to support a team named after their city than they would traditional League names. It would also encourage partners on a more local level.
When Nanzer made this announcement at the South by Southwest Gaming Festival, he compared the idea to traditional sports. ESports makes money through global sponsorship and monetization on platforms.
“But if you look at the way teams drive revenue in traditional sports, it’s because they have a venue. They can sell tickets, VIP experiences and boxes and all of those things — concessions, parking, merchandise, and local sponsorships — which to date have had no reason to invest in esports.”
These changes would drive revenue up for the League and help push eSports as a more recognizable event.
The League aims to encourage more participation in their games. By doing this, people who are not able to go to California will eventually be able to watch their home team play in person. It will also increase revenue and help eSports reach the next level. Of course, this won’t be completed within the year. It will take time, but once complete; it could be a whole new window into the world of eSports.