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Volume 26 No. 227
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OWL Hoping Annual Grand Finals Become "Super Bowl Of Esports"

Overwatch League Senior Dir of Marketing Kristin Connelly gave a presentation on her league’s championship during the Lagardere Sports Esports Rising conference. After going through a sizzle reel for the most recent OWL Grand Finals at Wells Fargo Center in September, Connelly said the league is trying to create the “Super Bowl of Esports” with the annual event. She said of the first-ever OWL Grand Finals at Barclays Center in '18, “We took over the venue, made it feel like a carnival -- a street-fair-like atmosphere on the concourses. And we had some entertainment during every minute of the event.” That strategy was then “ramped up” for Year 2, which included traditional signage around Philadelphia, street pole banners and lighting up the city orange to welcome fans -- 10,000 of which went to a festival on matchday. OWL partnered with the Rooftop2 Productions team on a fan fest that opened at 10:00am -- four hours before doors opened for the 3:00pm match. Connelly noted Coca-Cola came onboard to help recreate a dash like Overwatch character Tracer, to "recreate her pose, jumping into a massive foam pit." Toyota, Upper Deck and Fanatics were also on hand with activations.

KEEPING THINGS LIVELY: While the streaming audience pulled in a global average minute audience close to 1 million viewers, Connelly noted the importance of building an exciting live experience. "We engaged every minute," she said. The event started with the pregame show, musician and Overwatch grandmaster player Zedd performed, and then the match started. In the aftermath, two members of the winning S.F. Shock side appeared on NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon." Comcast Spectacor owns the OWL's Philadelphia Fusion.