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Volume 25 No. 214
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In-Market Overwatch League Games Will Provide Crucial Test In Year 2

Overwatch League teams will foot most of the bill for hosting the games next season
Photo: ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

The Overwatch League's decision to host games in Dallas and Atlanta during the '19 season is a "bellwether for the league as it tries to determine whether such a move is financially viable and how to optimally structure a league with city-based teams," according to Noah Smith of the WASHINGTON POST. The league has previously "stated the goal of moving fully into local markets" by the '20 season, though it has not "fully committed to that timeline." Team Envy Owner & CEO Mike Rufail said that his Dallas Fuel squad "felt confident in hosting" the weekend homestand next year after "strong fan turnout to another team-hosted game watch party in Dallas last March." A source said that the team "went so far as to use Allen Event Center over the newly opened Esports Stadium" in Arlington because of the "higher seating capacity." But sources also said that some OWL team owners "expressed concerns about failing to attract large enough crowds and losing money." Rufail confirmed that teams are “footing most of the bill.” He added that he is "comfortable with the financial risk since he sees the Dallas event as an investment in his home market by bringing exposure to the product he is putting on the screen." Washington Justice Owner Mark Ein, whose franchise will join the league next season, said that he "did not believe there was any hesitation from owners when it came to these weekends" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/13).

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