This past Friday and Saturday marked what many called a “historic” event: The Overwatch League Grand Finals. This was the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work, dedication, training, and passion for the emerging league. The London Spitfire won the first OWL Finals over the Philadelphia Fusion in a very dominating fashion. There were strategy and composition switches made on the fly by both teams, but London seemed to always have the edge over Philly.
Now that Inaugural Season of the Overwatch League is completely finished, it’s definitely a great time for reflection. What better to reflect upon than the match that just happened a few days ago? This won’t be an in-depth, play-by-play article. Instead, we’ll quickly take a look at how the Grand Finals helped the League become more mainstream and recognized.
Major Networks Play Overwatch
First of all, the Grand Finals were aired live on ESPN during prime time. This is a major development since this opened up a huge market for mainstream viewers. Overwatch airing on a network as huge as ESPN will inherently introduce many people to both OWL and esports as a whole. Not only that, but this event also marked a turning point with the way that OWL will be watched from now on, since Blizzard made the deal with Disney to air regular OWL games on DisneyXD, ESPN 3, and ABC. This bodes well for the next season’s viewership since the games will be available to a wider audience than just Twitch.
If you search “Overwatch League Grand Finals” on Google, you will find legitimate, highly-acclaimed news and sports organizations with various articles on the topic. This was pretty much unthinkable in the early stages of OWL. This basically marks the beginning of larger adoption of the Overwatch League on all forms of media.
In fact, these deals and the Grand Finals are already paying dividends for Blizzard. According to an article from ESPN, the recent acquisition of an Atlanta team is thanks to a representative attending the Grand Finals. COX Media Group is responsible for the bid on the Atlanta team, and “A representative from the Cox-funded group attended the Overwatch League Finals in Brooklyn, New York, on Friday, sources said”. Slots for the 2019 Season of OWL “are expected to sell for $30 million to 60 million,” which is $10-20 million higher than the Inaugural Season’s average of about $20 million.
2019 Season Looking Good
Next season is still very far away at this point, but it should bring a wider audience than last season. Major networks’ adoption of the esport coupled with additional teams will see the Overwatch League’s popularity only increase.
If you don’t believe me, check out this OWL interview on CNBC!
— CNBC's Fast Money (@CNBCFastMoney) July 30, 2018
Thanks for reading! Be sure to follow TGH on all the social media! Featured image courtesy of Overwatch League Twitter.