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Volume 26 No. 50
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Overwatch League Taking Game On The Road In Second Season

OWL added eight teams during its first offseason to bring the total number of franchises to 20
Photo: ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

The Overwatch League is opening its second season tonight a "few steps closer to its goal of becoming a truly global, city-based esports league," with eight new franchises and "plans to take its regular season on the road," according to Jake Seiner of the AP. Last season was a "promising debut," and now OWL execs have been "clear that their aspirations are higher." OWL Commissioner Nate Nanzer "envisions his players becoming 'global superstars,'" and the league has "proved it could lay the groundwork for such a stage." Nanzer's goal is to have 28 teams, each "connected to a city -- an unprecedented endeavor for competitive video games." OWL added eight teams in its first offseason, bringing the total number of franchises to 20 for the '19 season. Eventually, all of the teams will "have arenas in their home cities," and OWL is "giving fans in some cities a taste of live action this season." The league will "hold Homestand Weekends" in Dallas, Atlanta and L.A., in an "experiment that will inform future decisions on how to build a full home-and-away schedule for the league." With future expansion, "competitive balance could become a concern," as there was a "bit of a skill gap even in the inaugural season" (AP, 2/14).

A NEW PLAYER HAS ENTERED THE GAME: In DC, Nicole Carpenter noted a new battle royale game, Apex Legends, has already "surpassed 25 million players in its first week, outpacing even Fortnite in initial player-base acquisition," and is now "indirectly challenging that industry titan in the esports arena." Though most games "can be played competitively, not all games can succeed as esports, and even the biggest titles, like Fortnite, can experience difficulties." As the esports industry "continues to grow," more and more developers are "launching their games with professional, competitive play at the forefront of their planning" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 2/13).

For more coverage of the business of esports, visit our partners, esportsobserver.com.