At the end of the matches for the Overwatch League, the Player of the Match (POTM) is a mini MVP that shows to the community who really helped pull this win out. Only recently have fans started to notice that the POTM is not always the same across the different regional broadcasts.
These irregularities show the values of the region of what they think is the most important component to a POTM. To just look at the matches that have been played so far in the Summer Showdown, discrepancies can already be seen.
The North American, French, and Korean broadcasts of the Overwatch League matches are on Youtube. This is a part of the larger deal that Activision signed with Youtube in January of 2020. This deal was not just for the Overwatch League, but also other esports such as the Call of Duty League. China was not included in this deal.
Bilibili, a Chinese equivalent of Twitch, landed the exclusive Overwatch League broadcasting distribution rights in China. This is a three-year-long contract. While the Youtube contract is only for two years.
This may not seem like a big deal, but that means that the broadcasts are not the same. This can be seen in the end graphic for the POTM. Just like on the North American broadcast, on the French and Korean broadcasts as well, the stat card will be in English. While on the Chinese broadcast this stat card will be in Chinese. The Chinese broadcast will also add in other graphics that aren’t seen in the other broadcasts and has other unique segments as well. They are the broadcast that deviates the most from the North American (French and Korean) streams.
It seems as if when it comes to the POTM North America, the French broadcast, and the Korean broadcast all follow the same POTM. In Week 12 of the Overwatch League, the Chinese Broadcast 50% of the time agreed and followed the North American POTM. The other 50% of the time they picked a different player to highlight for the POTM. In the previous week (11), two of the APAC matches had different POTM results from the North American (French and Korean) broadcast.
In Week 12, the difference came during the Shanghai Dragon matches against the Seoul Dynasty and the Philadelphia Fusion. For the Seoul match, the North American broadcast had Jaewon ‘Lip’ Lee as the POTM, while in China it was Byungsun ‘Fleta’ Kim (What is shown in the clips above). This is similar to the Dragon and Fusion match where North American had the POTM as Junwoo ‘Void’ Kang, but again China picked Fleta.
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— 개로워 (@Jotkaplz) June 27, 2021
In Week 11, the trend was away from the Dragons. Instead the differentiation was with the Seoul Dynasty versus Hangzhou Spark as well as the Chengdu Hunters versus the Guangzhou Charge.
For Seoul’s win, the POTM for North America’s (Korean and French) broadcast was Hyeonwoo ‘Toyou’ Lim. In Toyou’s post-match interview, he mentioned that he thought that he could possibly get POTM because of his performance, but it could have been Minseo ‘Marve1’ Hwang as well. Toyou had D.Va remech kills, eating ultimates such as Mei blizzards, D.Va bomb kills. Interesting enough, it was neither tanks for the Chinese broadcast. It was Taesung ‘Anamo’ Jung that took the POTM on the Chinese broadcast which fans were quick to point out.
중국 중계 PotM은 서울 다이너스티 아나모 선수 pic.twitter.com/IiO4RrWivd
— serinA (@serinAtoF) June 27, 2021
The Chengdu Hunters versus the Guangzhou Charge brought about another irregularity between the broadcasts. The North American, Korean, French went with Tan ‘Nisha’ Li while China favored Huang ‘Leave’ Xin to be POTM. Of the two weeks, there was a good percentage of times that the POTM did not match up when it came to the APAC matches.
Why is China different?
How are the POTM picked? The Overwatch League Stats’ producer for global broadcasts, Matt Mersel gave the community a little insight on how the POTM are picked. This is the same process for the APAC games, though it is not Matt and Noah but other producers who are awake during the APAC matches.
People are always curious, Player of the Match decisions are made by a committee of casters, me and Noah, and various people in the control room/obs
Half the time we all agree half the time at least one person is malding
— BackpackMatt 🦉 (@MattMersel) June 25, 2021
It is not clear how the Chinese broadcast picks their POTM or why they don’t follow the North American POTM. For the Shanghai Dragon differences, it could come down to the player.
Fleta is very famous in immensely popular in China. This is more so than the other Shanghai Dragon’s players. His precise skills and flexibility on many heroes in-game couples with his tall, handsome, and polite demeanor has gained him many fans in China. Some have compared his popularity more alongside League of Legends players than any of Overwatch. The fact that Fleta is that well-loved would make having him POTM over other players very understandable.
Moments versus Overall?
Looking at these two weeks and when the differences occur it can be assumed that it is about the differences in what is valued by the two regions to be considered POTM. China seemingly puts consistent impactful plays throughout the whole match as a high contributing factor to POTM. As seen with Leave and Anamo, both were consistently steady throughout the maps of the match. North America highly values the ‘big moment.’ That is the clip that could be posted to social media as the big play of the whole match.
Realignments of POTM
Around half of the time, North America (French and Korean) broadcast aligns. That makes sense. A consistent impactful player would very likely get an amazing clip.
Think of Jaegon ‘LeeJaegon’ Lee when the Dragons played against the Dynasty and he got 10 some environmental kills on Lijiang Tower. He was also consistent in the implementation of strategies throughout the other maps as well. He was the POTM in both China and North America (French and Korean).
The importance of both
This does not mean that North America doesn’t value consistent players. It would be doubtful that a player who popped off once and got a 6k would be POTM without some consistency throughout the other maps. But the value that North America puts on those pop off moments is seemingly higher when determining between players. This is also true for the Chinese broadcast but the opposite that values consistency. But sometimes those two ideologies don’t align with the same player then that is when the community sees two different POTM are crowned.
The POTM irregularities seem to be only in the APAC matches. For the North American matches, the VODs don’t show a POTM at all. The Chinese broadcast does not show North America picked POTM or their own, instead, it goes to the casters in the VOD. It may be that the broadcast just jumps straight to the North American stream, which is left off of the VODs.
The irregularities between the Chinese regional broadcast and the rest of the broadcasts show an interesting perspective of what is valued and considered to be POTM. Whether it be that clickbait moment that can engage the audience via POTM clip or a highly consistent play that supported the team throughout the match both are of value. These are just two different perspectives of what a POTM represents. It would be interesting to see for the rest of the season how much more deviant will occur when it comes to POTM as the race to the Grand Final gets tighter.
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