Back in August amidst the LA Valiant’s 2019 Rivalry Weekend, The Game Haus had the opportunity to sit down with Tim Holloway, the Director of Esports for Canucks Sports Entertainment and the Vancouver Titans, to discuss the upcoming 2020 OWL season. From activating the entire Pacific Northwest to focusing in on the community and the grassroots nature of the Titan’s fanbase, Tim and the Titans ownership group have some exciting plans in store for the 2020 season and beyond.
What has the Titans organization learned from the homestands in 2019 and how have they affected your approach going into next year?
Everything. From load-in days, to load out, to production, to capacity issues or just how to use the space at the end the day. But, also really just getting around and speaking to the fan base and hearing their take on the venue and the different aspects of the homestand. This (the LA Valiant’s 2019 Homestand) is the first one that the Titans are a part of, so I think we’ve learned the most from LA.
From the franchise side, there’s been so much collaboration from all of the franchises to share what we learned, what we didn’t learn and all the pros and cons of what to do and not to do. It’ll be really cool in season three when all the teams are in their home markets. I really feel like the entire league, and especially Vancouver, are gonna have a really great product in 2020.
How has being involved with the Canucks NHL franchise influenced how the Titans were created a how you plan to move forward?
At Canucks Sports Entertainment, we have the Vancouver Titans, the Vancouver Warriors, which is a professional lacrosse team, and then also the Vancouver Canucks, which is a professional hockey team. At first, when the group got involved with the Vancouver Titans it was a huge change because we previously only had that traditional sports background, but now we’re in esports and Overwatch specifically.
I actually think it’s been a huge positive for us. We already have that fundamental knowledge of how to run a content/social media team and I think it speaks volumes for how our Twitter and our Instagram have been run. I think we’ve had that competitive advantage against some other teams in those areas, and with our graphics in particular.
Overall, we really want to grow this thing from within the community and the grassroots fanbase to hopefully, one day, sell-out Rogers Arena.
Speaking of the Rogers Arena, why choose that one versus others in the area?
I actually personally walked through every theatre and event venue in Vancouver. But through all of that, we always had the Rogers Arena in the back of our mind, but we want to make sure it was the right call. We really did our due diligence and, at the end of the day, it just was the perfect fit. Not just because we own and operate it as well, but, we really feel that season three of the OWL is ready to be in a traditional sports professional arena. It’s in the epicenter of the city in the entertainment district and there’s just a lot of really cool activations that we have planned.
You all have already done some in the past, like revealing the Titans roster at a Canucks game, but do you have any more concrete plans to further mix those two franchises?
Right now, we’re looking at a lot of options. Internally, we’re discussing different activations and how to bring a lot of traditional sports fans into the esports scene. That’s something that I’m personally really happy to get started on; it will be a lot easier when the team is actually in Vancouver.
What do the Titans have in place to support the players and the staff to get through the difficult travel schedule in 2020?
I know the league has made a lot of positive connections as far as what they’re doing for the actual logistics of it. On our side, our player’s well-being and wellness are key parts of our what we’re looking at next season. The one thing that we can say, without a doubt, is that the Vancouver Titans will be looked after in a professional manner.
The team has already gone to Seattle and kind of represents the league’s presence in the Pacific Northwest. Do you have any plans to further expand in that region or in Seattle, specifically?
From its inception, when we looked at getting involved with Overwatch, it was as a Pacific Northwest team, as you said. That week in Seattle was great. We went to Virtual Sports and we’re even on the ESPN show in the morning, which was great. What I felt, speaking with the crowd and the fans that came out, is that it wasn’t just Seattle based fans, it was people from Oregon, it was people from Washington state and even some fans Vancouver drove down to Seattle. What’s special for us is that we built this around the Pacific Northwest and the entire Pacific Northwest is supporting us, which is really cool. Lots more to come.
Fans can catch the Titans in their debut matchup of the 2020 season on opening weekend in Dallas, TX on February 8. They’ll be taking on both the Los Angeles Gladiators and the Los Angeles Valiant on opening weekend, with the game versus the Valiant coming on the 9th.
The Game Haus would like to thank Tim and the entire Vancouver Titans organization for the time and the thoughts put forth in this interview. We look forward to seeing what the team can do in 2020!
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Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
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