One week ago, the Overwatch League announced that the league’s first official vinyl figure is on its way: courtesy of popular toy company: Funko. The announcement of the OWL-skinned Tracer was first posted to their Twitter account around noon on February 02.
Funko and the OWL had plans for an Overwatch League-themed Pop! Vinyl slated for Q4 2019, in which got delayed to 2020. More importantly, this same press release also explains that Activision-Blizzard is in talks with Funko about Call of Duty League Funko products as well. Since the Call of Duty doesn’t have storied heroes like in Overwatch, this statement could hint at figures featuring team-based skins, for example, for both the CDL and the OWL.
If this is a possibility, then the Overwatch League could follow what traditional sports leagues have done with Funko and release a plethora of different Pops based on the league and its characters.
Here is a look at what the Funko and Overwatch League collaboration could bring to shelves in the near future.
The Overwatch team has already worked with Funko to create multiple Pop! Vinyl versions of the game’s fan favourite characters. So, the obvious direction Blizzard and Funko could take is to create figures of their characters and paint them with the each of the 20 teams’ in-game skins. The most logical way to do so would be to take those previously-created molds and paint them as OWL variants. This could lead to models unique to esports with characters such as a Philadelphia Fusion Reinhardt or a Shanghai Dragons Pharah. Blizzard has already taken the step to making an Overwatch League Tracer, so it makes sense for Funko to follow it up with a similar approach to team skins.
OWL “Limited” Skins
A step above basic team skins would be the limited-time skins that the Overwatch League have created to celebrate specific moments in the league’s two-year history. This ranges from the All-Star skins to JJoNaK’s MVP Zenyatta skin to the currently available “GOAT” Brigitte skin, which commemorates the infamous meta that dominated the 2019 season. The process of creating these figures would take the extra step of creating new molds, but that is nothing new to Funko. These could also produce Pop! Vinyls for the one-off skins for championship teams like the London Spitfire’s Flying Ace Winston skin or the inevitable SF Shock skin. These Funko figures would be a great addition to championship memorabilia for fans of those teams.
Can’t get enough of the boys? You could own your very own custom player mini. These super exclusive, handmade NYXL figures by @happysquaredOW will be available for purchase on Saturday & Sunday while supplies last. #EverUpward pic.twitter.com/aNqm7jxbzI
— NYXL (@NYXL) February 6, 2020
Something that Funko and the OWL can take from sports leagues like the NFL, NHL, etc. is Funko-versions of iconic players, as the NYXL have already attempted. These normally feature the athletes in uniform performing different poses. Obviously the figures shown above are custom made, but how these could look as officially manufactured Pop! Vinyls would be interesting. Firstly, the models could feature the top players of each team wearing the brand new 2020 OWL uniforms in the same vein as the athlete Pops. Secondly, while athletes may be seen doing the Heisman pose or holding a bat, OWL player figures could be shown emulating their signature hero’s victory pose or emote. This could even extend to a player’s particular walk-out routine or even showing them popping off on stage. Every fan has a favourite player, and this could be a great way to showcase that passion.
Another way sports leagues have worked with Funko is by producing figures of their Mascots. From the Chicago Blackhawks’ Tommy Hawk to the “Phillie Phanatic”, mascots could also be an amusing way to further the OWL Funko Pop! vinyl line. Some examples could be the Vancouver Titans Yeti, the Hangzhou Spark’s “Telly”, or even the very-literal bird suit Dafran wore at Atlanta Reign’s homestand last season. While not every team has a definitive mascot as of the 2020 season, more and more teams will evolve their brands as the league grows and potentially create a persona that they can call their own. This, in turn, would allow for more Mascot Funko Pop’s if the opportunity presented itself.
When the Overwatch League was announced, Blizzard revealed a logo resembling a Tracer silhouette which was reminiscent of traditional sports leagues. So, it makes sense as to why she has been revealed to be the Overwatch League’s first Pop! Vinyl. As the league starts up its 2020 season, it will continue to strive to be the future of esports as a geolocated league. And fans can expect these upcoming, history-making moments for their teams, players, and their league to be solidified in vinyl as Funko continues to work with Activision-Blizzard in the foreseeable future.
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Featured Image Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment
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