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Homestand Economics 101: Atlantic North

OWL Atlantic North

Author’s Note: All figures in this series were based on the lowest ticketed prices that were still available as of January 4, 2020, and included all taxes, fees and shipping costs. Foreign currency conversion is also accurate as of January 4, 2020. Due to a lack of information on the Pacific East homestands, they have not been included at this time.

For the past 2 years, teams in the Overwatch League have played under one roof at Burbank’s Blizzard Arena. While keeping operations centralized during the league’s infancy was smart logistically and financially, last season saw a drastic drop in ticket sales. One reason cited for the slump in attendance was the cost for fans to travel to Los Angeles. Another was that even the local community was beginning to feel burnout. These “superfans” endured up to 16 matches per week, with a majority being played during an arguably monotonous GOATs meta. 

However, as the Overwatch League’s third season approaches, the league is sticking to their initial plan, by having teams play from their respective cities. The community has been buzzing for months with excitement for the new homestand format after the great success of the three trial homestands last year in Dallas, Atlanta and Los Angeles. Although there are still concerns about travel costs and an increase in ticket prices, there are several great homestand options in relatively cheap areas where fans can see up to 10 teams in a single weekend. 

Overall Cost

Ticket costs for matches at the Blizzard Arena varied from $20 to $30, depending on the day of the week, or $100 for a full week of matches. Attending just the weekend matches would cost about $60, which was a great value for 6 to 8 matches. The first three homestands followed suit and kept similar pricing with tickets being between $50 and $70 for a weekend. However, the community experienced “sticker shock” as details on the 2020 homestands began to roll out.

la valiant stage 4 week 4
Image Courtesy of Stewart Volland for Blizzard Entertainment

When homestand details were first announced at the end of August, the Boston Uprising’s were perhaps the most questionable. Team officials stated that they were still deciding between their final venues, but limited weekend passes were available for $118. It took about 4 months before a venue was finally announced and tickets for Boston went back up for sale.

The remaining Atlantic North homestands are still among the most expensive, with prices ranging from $72 to $169. The cheapest homestands in this division are the two being hosted by the London Spitfire at just $72 per weekend. While it is still higher than the Season 2 homestands and BALA prices, it is less than half the price of New York Excelsior’s opening week homestand, which is a whopping $169 for the cheapest available seats. As for Boston, their pricing did not improve after finding their venues and will set fans back $124. 

Price Per Match

Another factor to consider when trying to decide which homestand to attend is just how many matches will be played. Although all homestands are being played over the course of just two days, Saturday and Sunday, the number of matches vary from as little as 4 to as many as 7. There were on average 12 matches per week during Season 1 at BALA and 16 matches during Season 2. Based on this, a full week of matches in Season 1 cost $8.75 per match and a shockingly low $6.25 in Season 2. 

The Season 2 homestands were used to gauge community interest and to figure out logistics, such as, how many matches could be crammed into a single weekend. All 3 homestands last year hosted 8 total matches and cost $6.25 to $8.75 per match. Interestingly enough, the Kit Kat Rivalry Weekend in Los Angeles matched the BALA price per match (PPM) of $6.25. This could be in part because overhead costs for such an event in LA is relatively low versus other cities. Additionally, both the league and the teams saved a substantial amount of money by being just 30 minutes away from Burbank, all of which could have attributed to the lower cost of attendance.

NYXL Homestand
Image Courtesy of NYXL via Twitter

For the Atlantic North, PPM fluctuates between $11.99 to a staggering $31. London’s low overall price, plus a high volume of matches, accounts for their lower costs. As for Boston’s homestand during Week 21, it is not only the most expensive among the Atlantic North, in terms of PPM, but it is also the most expensive throughout the entire league. The only exception here is NYXL’s aforementioned Week 1 homestand, as their cheapest seats have long since sold out. For fans looking to snag tickets to the league’s inaugural homestand of the season, they will be looking to shell out an astounding $42.25 per match. 

Team Attendance

Each Atlantic North homestand will see a total of 4 to 9 teams, with most hosting either 4 or 7. This could be a major factor for fans who can only make 1 or 2 events throughout the season and want to ensure they see as many teams as possible. Paris Eternal’s final homestand in June sees the most teams in the division when they play host to 8 other teams.

Paris Eternal
Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Every homestand also gives attendees an option to add on more perks, such as meet and greets and swag bags. At around $80 each, these add ons seem to be the one thing consistently priced throughout the league. The $80 price tag for a Grandmaster upgrade has been standard since Season 1’s Grand Finals. This is undeniably a very important factor for fans who want to not only see a lot of teams play but also have the opportunity to meet them as well. Whether there are 4 teams present or 9 teams, this price point doesn’t seem to change.

Season Passes

A few teams are also offering season passes as an easy way to secure tickets to all of their events. While some are pretty bare-bones, only offering guaranteed seating in a specific section, most include some swag and bonuses. But are they really worth it? 

Boston’s season pass is advertised as saving fans 10% for 4 days of matches, which is mediocre. However, once taxes and fees are factored in, it is actually closer to a 25% discount. While that sounds like a great deal, it still comes out to paying $18.42 per match. It is also one of the only season pass deals that do not offer anything extra.

Toronto Stage 4 Preview
Image courtesy of London Spitfire

Across the pond, the London Spitfire also have a season pass available to fans. Surprisingly, London has the highest priced season pass, despite having the lowest cost events. Just like Boston, it covers 4 days of matches, but London’s pass will cost about $266.07. This amounts to $26.61 per match and that is for their lowest tier option. The only saving grace here is that they will throw in a “souvenir lanyard and good seating”. European fans will be much better off buying a la carte tickets, whereas fans in New England will be able to shave a few bucks off their overall cost. Neither, however, are particularly good deals. 

Final Thoughts

London will definitely have the cheapest homestands in the Atlantic North to attend, based on overall ticket prices and PPM. As a central hub for European travel, it is also fairly cheap to fly to, from both the USA and within Europe. Accommodation costs are comparable to other major cities worldwide, with an average night costing about $220. Of course, there are always deals and alternatives such as renting a place via a site like AirBnB. 

Toronto Defiant Stage 4 Preview
Image courtesy of Toronto Defiant

If overseas travel is out of the budget of North American fans, their best bet will most likely be the Toronto Defiant homestands. The Defiant have only announced details on their April homestand, but it gives fans a chance to see 8 teams playing 6 matches for just $15 a match. It is also a bit more economical, as hotels average closer to $150 per night. 

However, the overall best valued weekend may actually be Eternal’s June homestand. Fans can buy tickets in the Rooster Club section, Paris Eternal’s fan club, for about $89 for the weekend. Divided across the 7 matches being played by a massive 9 teams, it works out to only $12.75 per match. Because of the league’s newer format, where teams only play teams of another division once, this will also be the only homestand to see powerhouse teams like NYXL and San Francisco Shock face off. 

For breaks down of the rest of the homestands, please check out both the Atlantic South and the Pacific West divisions.

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