The Overwatch League wrapped up a very successful first season at the end of July with the Grand Finals that took place in New York at the Barclays Center. The London Spitfire defeated the Philadelphia Fusion 2-1 in a best of three series to become the first ever Overwatch League champions. While the league had huge success in its first season some of the teams like the Florida Mayhem and the Shanghai Dragons struggled throughout. Florida only won a handful of games, whereas Shanghai went completely winless with a record of 0-40. But with all of that going on, fans never stopped watching the streams on Twitch and the broadcasts on Disney XD or ESPN3. Now that the inaugural season is over, it’s time to look to the future.
Earlier this week, Overwatch League commissioner Nate Nanzer took to Twitter and Facebook to announce that eight new teams would be joining the league for the upcoming 2019 season. The teams were announced for Paris, Toronto, Vancouver, Atlanta, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Guangzhou (all three of these teams represent cities in China) and Washington D.C. These eight teams will change the total team count from twelve to twenty. The addition of these eight teams will certainly make this season interesting. This means that the league front office may have to change up the playoff format to add two more spots to the playoff structure. This could also mean a longer season. In the first season, teams played at total of 40 games each, so the addition of more teams could mean that the front office changes the game total to 60 or 80 games for each team. Details about the changes will be coming soon.
So what does all of this have to do with a team that will represent the DMV? Well, it’s simple really, This is another team — like the Washington Capitals or the Wizards or D.C. United — around which this community can rally. Wouldn’t it be cool to see esports players live on Twitch, Disney XD, or ESPN3, playing a game that they love and have worked hard to reach this stage and they represent our community? That gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.
Having an Overwatch League team that represents the DMV opens a huge door for future esports development. With the right funding, and players who are passionate about gaming and esports, we could see the next generation of esports stars rising from our own backyard. Local high schools and colleges could establish esports as an equal to football or baseball or basketball. Imagine people putting aside their differences for a common goal: the love of the game and the love of the team. It’s what we saw this past hockey season where the Washington Capitals went on their historic Stanley Cup run and won it. Our cities went wild and the celebrations were massive. What if we put all of that passion into esports?
Now while this team will represent the DMV, they will be housed in Los Angeles and play all of their games at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank with the other teams in the league. However, this should not deter people from becoming fans and supporting this newly announced team. They still represent us and our community, and that’s special. Plus, this could also reignite the Philadelphia/Washington rivalry or the Washington/New York rivalry. The possibilities or endless. And before people start to dismiss this as not a “real sport”, keep in mind that esports is a real sporting event to so many people, and it is a very successful one at that.
What do you all think? Is this a good move for our area and how successful do you think the team will be? Let us know!