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The Ones That Matter Most: An Interview with fans attending the OWL Dallas Homestand

Dallas Homestead

Families, friends, cosplayers and 4,500 Overwatch fans of all kinds packed out the Allen Event Center in Allen, TX on April 27 and 28 for the OWL Dallas Homestand. The crowd was electric throughout the weekend and played a pivotal role in leading their hometown Fuel to a perfect 2-0 record over the weekend.

The Game Haus talked with several fans amidst this historic event to get a better perspective of where these fans came from, who they support and how localization will affect their fandom next season.

Mike and Mike (father and son)Dallas Homestead

Where are you all from and which teams are you supporting today?

Dad: We are from Katy, TX which is just about a four-hour drive from here.

Son: I’m rooting for the Houston Outlaws but I’m also rooting for the London Spitfire.

Dad: Yeah, we like the Outlaws but we really just love the league overall, so we really enjoy watching all of the teams.

So, being Outlaws fans living in Katy, what are you all most excited for next season when the Outlaws are hopefully playing near Houston?

Dad: I think the local energy will be higher. Yesterday, during the Dallas vs Valiant match it was rockin’ in here. I think it will be the same way down in Houston.

Son: I’m excited to talk to all the people, everyone here has been so great. There’s been so much energy in the crowd here.

Dad: This is our first time being able to experience a live event. We watch sometimes on the TV at home but it’s a lot different and a lot more special in front of a live audience.

 

Craig and Virginia

Where are you all from and what brought you to the arena today?

Craig: We’re from Pensacola, Florida actually. We drove in to support the Outlaws!

Is this your first esports event? What has the experience been like, if so?

Craig: Yeah, it is. It’s a lot bigger than I expected and I lot more than I expected. It’s been fantastic here in Dallas.

Dallas Homestead
Living in Pensacola, will you both become Mayhem fans next season or are you sticking with the Outlaws? What are you most excited for next season when teams localize?

Craig: Yeah, we’ll stick with the Outlaws. Even if Florida does get an arena, it will be so far south that it’s basically a different state. We fell in love with the Outlaws from the very beginning and we’ll stay Outlaws fans through and through.

Next year, we’d really love to get to a home game for the Outlaws with the same energy and crowd that we saw here today, except, maybe more fans on the side of the Outlaws.

Compton (son), Deborah (mom), and Brad (dad)Dallas Homestead

Where are you all from and what brought you to the arena today?

Compton: I live in Dallas and here today is a family sporting event.

Deborah: Hi! Me and my husband live in Houston. Our two kids brought us here and I love Overwatch League, it’s so much fun! *laughs*

Brad: Our kids got into Overwatch and we like being involved in what they’re involved in. Our daughter introduced us to Overwatch League and we just absolutely love it.

Who are you all rooting for today and what are you most excited for next year when geolocation happens? What will that mean for you as fans of those teams?

Compton: Today I’m rooting for both Paris and Dallas. The new sporting arenas mean that I’ll be able to enjoy the Overwatch League with a little more locality and actually be able to feel like I participate in the league a little bit more.

Deborah: Outlaws all the way. This is just so much fun live! It’s a whole different experience with it live and also, I mean, being closer to home is great. It’s just like sitting in the front row in a class, the energy and involvement are just so much different when you’re inside the arena. It’s a lot of fun in here!

Brad: We’re back in Houston and, with the geolocation, we’re looking forward to being able to spend more time at the live events. It’s so much more exciting. It’s just so much more immersive of an experience and just a lot more fun to actually be in these seats.

A.J.

Where are you all from and what brought you to the arena today?

I’m from Austin, TX and I drove up here because I love Overwatch League and just esports in general. I’ve been a fan of several of these players for a long time.

Who are you all rooting for today? What are you most excited for next year when geolocation happens? What will that mean for you as fans of those teams?

Dallas Homestead

My favorite teams aren’t actually here today. I’m a diehard Los Angeles Gladiators fan as well as a Guangzhou Charge fan. I also like Seoul quite a bit and they are mainly who I’m supporting today.

For next season, I’m really excited and I’m hoping that other teams will come to Texas because I want to see all of them play eventually. I will definitely go to any events they have in Texas, I’ll drive wherever. Overall, this has just been really fun and I hope they keep bringing more events back here and all over Texas.

Rob Tijerina

Where are you all from and what brought you to the arena today?Dallas Homestead

I’m from San Antonio, Texas so I drove just about five hours to get here today. I’ve been following the Dallas Fuel since they were Team Envy, so it just felt natural to follow them as they came into the Overwatch League. The team has always been very passionate, very nice and very funny. Every person I’ve ever met from Envy, even the more backline people within the organization, have been really nice. I would follow this team to the ends of the Earth.

Being from San Antonio, is this your first esports event? When/If the Fuel move to the Allen Event Center next year, how will that change the way you are a fan of the Fuel?

Yeah, so this is actually my very first esports event. It was absolutely worth the five-hour drive over here.

For the future of esports, I’m super excited to see that we are going to be localizing. I would be more willing to drive five hours to come and see a game, especially if it’s the ‘Battle of Texas’ or a team that I really don’t like. I definitely would come here and definitely would be rooting for the Dallas Fuel.

I think it’s gonna be a major step forward for esports overall. Just be able to be one team, with one fan base, in one overall game will go along way towards proving legitimacy in esports. Overall I just think it’s fantastic and I can’t wait for the future.

Linus and Connie

Where are you all from and what brought you to the arena today?

Connie: I’m from Dallas and I’m here to root for the Dallas Fuel.

Linus: I’m from Dallas as well, just here to root for my team.

How long have you all been Fuel fans and what has it been like seeing them in person, here in your home city?

Dallas HomesteadConnie: I followed Envy back in the day, so hearing that they were becoming the Dallas Fuel, while I was living in Dallas, made it an automatic choice to support them. It’s been exciting to see them here. I actually went to Burbank to watch a Dallas vs Houston game, which was pretty exciting as well, but seeing what the fans have been able to do here in Dallas… It’s just been wild, honestly.

Linus: Same thing, I’ve followed the Dallas Fuel since they came into the league in Season 1. Being here with all the fans, the screaming and the yelling, has really been something else. It really gets your energy hyped up.

Connie: Yeah, there’s something very different about sharing fandom with 10 people as opposed to, you know, 4,500. *laughs*

Linus: It’s a real experience, very much feels like a sporting event.

 

 

This is the first of three homestands in the 2019 OWL season with teams expected to be fully in their home cities starting in the 2020 season. Even with this event representing such a pioneering moment for the OWL and for esports as a whole, the people who are buying the tickets are, at the end of the day, the most important part of the weekend.

 

 


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Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

All other photos in the article were taken by Connor “GoopyKnoopy” Knudsen for The Game Haus

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