Opening Weekend of the OWL is finally in the books as both New York and Dallas dim down the lights and close the doors of their respective venues. But, for as dark as the lights might be now, each city shined bright in their home openers, each with their own unique flare.
The Game Haus writer, Connor “GoopyKnoopy” Knudsen, was at the arena in Arlington, Texas for the Fuel’s opening homestand. For him, and likely many of the fans in attendance, the weekend offered a great deal of hope for the future of the OWL both in Dallas and throughout the entire league.
Offering More Than Just Overwatch
One of the biggest things that made this weekend feel different from 2019 is the added convention center-style activities to the venue here in Arlington. There was high school and collegiate esports taking place alongside plenty of other activities outside of just the OWL matches. For the many families in attendance, this appeared to be a valuable and appreciated resource.
Activities gave a fair or convention sort of feel. There was hammer swinging, soda on-tap, player signings and photos and an assortment of different Overwatch’themed cuisines. This all took place in a separate space from the games, so the area didn’t feel overwhelmingly loud or obnoxious. It was a room that helped the entire arena feel more spaced out and also helped fans avoid the less-than-fortunate February weather.
Deep in the Heart of Texas
In addition, the arena that the weekend took place in is nestled right in the middle of the Arlington sports complex. Looking out to the left fans could see the home of the Texas Rangers; to the right, the home of the Dallas Cowboys. For Texas sports fans, there’s no doubt they must’ve felt right at home at the Esports Stadium in Arlington.
Considering that many of the fans in attendance were families, this is something that likely meant a lot for parents growing up in the area. The OWL has made a lot of strides in developing its multi-generational fanbase and placing arenas adjacent to areas that connect to older generations should have a positive effect overall.
Everything is Better Live
Especially on day one, the OWL broadcast had several crucial errors that have led to a great many Cheez-It memes, however, this was not the case live at the arena. The production inside the arena was clean, fans were loud and great Overwatch was played. Despite the results not going the way of the home team, fans still brought enormous amounts of energy both for the Fuel and against their opponents.
The league has to hope that fans at home see the energy inside these arenas and strive to make their way to their nearest homestand. New York looked to have accomplished that goal from a viewer’s perspective of the broadcast, and the Fuel certainly accomplished that from their homestand in Dallas from a live viewer’s perspective.
— Connor Knudsen 🔜 #DallasOP Weekend (@GoopyKnoopy) February 9, 2020
The Fuel host a whopping five homestands in three different venues in 2020. They’ll look to continue building momentum and offering fans unique experiences with each different venue. Stay tuned at The Game Haus for more live coverage from all the OWL homestands in the coming months.
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Featured Image Courtesy of Ben Pursell For Blizzard Entertainment
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