Game News Teams of pro players team up and take on Blizzard! The Overwatch League under pressure again?
Published on 01/20/2023 at 17:57
To share :
Announced in 2016 and launched in December 2017, the official Overwatch circuit punctuates the lives of players, fans, and committed professional structures. The entry ticket is very high, and the teams involved seem tired of broken promises and the costs generated by their participation.
The Overwatch League, a colossus with feet of clay?
Overwatch and Overwatch 2 were born to be games competitive. At the controls of their characters, and following strategies thought out and repeated beforehand, millions of players seek winning as a team or completing their challenges. Above all of this, Blizzard has established a professional circuitmade up of franchises permanent representatives representing various cities of the world. They may therefore have to move, and this is how Paris Eternal became Vegas Eternal. The most successful team is the San Francisco Shock, with two titles obtained in 2019 and 2020.
The operation of the Overwatch League is similar to other sports, with two divisions, a regular season, play-offs, and a grand finale. For the first season, many investors were won over by Blizzard’s proposal and ambition around its project. So they have spent a lot of money to set up professional structures and pay the entry ticket of 20 million dollars. However, and despite great popularity with fans, the audience only recededand the Covid-19 pandemic has dealt a serious blow to the competition.
As the machine seemed ready to restart, scandal related to sexual harassment led to the withdrawal of sponsors, which is not at all good news from a financial point of view. The most serious blow came from China, with the end of the partnership between Blizzard and NetEase. None of the ongoing negotiations with other partners has yet been successful. Worse still, Blizzard’s proposals were rejected by NetEase and, starting January 23, the Chinese servers for Blizzard games will be inaccessible for an unknown period of time. However, according to Josh Wilkinson, 87% of Overwatch League viewers live in China.
Overlatch League teams step up
The sums spent, the lack of profitability, the scandals, the decline in audience and the potential loss of the Chinese public are therefore so many elements and circumstances that angered the teams of the Overwatch League. Jacob Wolf has indeed published an article in which he indicates that the majority of League teams have decided to embark on a collective bargaining process by approaching the British law firm called Sheridan. These discussions would aim to make Blizzard accept the idea of economic aid that would stabilize the league and the teams. The article reports that each franchise would have spent between 7.5 and 10 million dollars in feesas well as more than a million dollars in operating costs each per year to maintain their teams.
For some teams, that means they’ve spent over $16 million on a league with mediocre viewership and no profitability in sight. Negotiations between the teams, Sheridans and Activision Blizzard are just beginning and tensions are high as the teams assess how they will spend ahead of the 2023 season which begins this spring. Activision Blizzard did not respond to a request for comment, the article read.
Still according to the various sources that spoke, the leader of the action would be OverActive Media, a Canadian company specializing in esports. This structure is Toronto Defiant team owner, and has worked with Sheridan in the past. For now, it’s hard to know what will come out of these negotiations, but the Overwatch League is working better than ever. on a wire.