During its first season, Overwatch League has shown solid growth in more than 200 games since its debut. Blizzard's eSport experiment has seen some ups and downs – causing unexpected changes to the board and some controversy over the players – but the league's success has turned the hero shooter Overwatch into an event game. It was a memorable one Sight. The tournament will culminate in a battle between fan favorite teams of the London Spitfire and Philadelphia Fusion. And with the plans to expand further next season, including two new teams in Paris and Guangzhou, as well as an extensive distribution agreement with ESPN, the future of the Overwatch League looks promising. From July 27th to 28th, the Grand Finals will see the London Spitfire and Philadelphia Fusion compete in several games, crowned with the champion crowned for a top two out of three matches. While the first day has only one match, the second day of the Grand Final will decide the winner.
While both teams are fan favorites and the best the season has to offer, they faced each other with many challenges that almost kept them out of the finals. The pre-season 2017 gave the teams ample opportunity to gain a foothold before the official start in the first season. However, the merger unfortunately missed due to scheduling problems and visa requirements for their roster. When they debuted at the start of the first season in January, they had a particularly bad result in Phase 1 and 2. Finally, the merger took place thanks to an interplay and a solid performance of key players Georgi "Shadowburn" Gushcha, Josue "Eqo" Corona and Alberto "Nepturo" Gonzalez Molinillo. Currently, the merger has a record of 24 wins and 16 defeats under its belt.
In the second half of the season, the London Spitfire has become one of the most popular teams in the league. With a strong start in the first leg, they quickly became known as the team they needed to watch out for. But they struggled to keep their momentum, leading to some disappointing games in phases 2 and 3. After an unsuccessful start to the first week of Phase 4, the team leaders took the surprising step of removing four players from their active roster – Hyeon-woo "HaGoPeun" Jo, Jang-Hyeon "TiZi" Hwang, Seung-Hyun "WooHyaL" Sung and Seong Dong-eun "Hooreg" Lee. The reason they stated in a press release was to build a smaller "championship caliber" team. Amazingly, the team was able to regain the same level of excitement as in the preseason, resulting in some memorable games against the merger and the rivals of the Spitfire, the Los Angeles Gladiators, who beat them in the playoffs. Similar to the merger, the Spitfire also has an identical game record of 24 wins and 16 defeats.
Overwatch League: Blizzard's Big Gamble
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Jack Etienne, owner of London Spitfire, was open about the team's challenges throughout the season, including their important decision to make changes to the roster.
"For me personally, the biggest challenge this season has been for me to understand that you can not just put the top 12 players into a team and expect things to go well," he said. "The thing is, if only six of these players are on stage, the other six will not be happy, as a backup, I've always believed that the teams that win in the playoffs are the ones on the right Page are time when we were after Stage 3 and we were not feeling well and then went to Stage 4 and we were not feeling well and sending the players home – my players were miserable we talked about it and myself "Hey, this crisis hurts, it's bad to be here, but this is the best time to find out what's wrong with us and get strong again." Other teams that had these burglaries later 'We did not have time to fix the problem, we actually had time to correct what went wrong.'
"The merger has been particularly tough on us, they are a really solid team," he went on. "And by our [earlier games] they are by far the best – we are the best two teams in the league, I have great respect for them and it is really good that things went as they did in the embrace because It would have been a pity if we had played in the quarterfinals or the semi – finals, and one of us had just lost from the other teams, sucked it in. It was a bad final, but the way things went with the Brackets landed, [the League] ended up being the two best teams at the right time. "
With the Grand Final, Overwatch League becomes the scale of the event. Along with the change of venue from the Blizzard Arena in Burbank to the Barclays Center, the increased range Blizzard has planned for its recent games will give viewers more options to watch the crucial games between Spitfire and Fusion. In addition to its online audience on Twitch and other streaming platforms, the league will also be airing on ESPN and the Disney Channel in North America. The exposure of these recent games of the season show a significant payout in the game Blizzard has taken up with the production of its own eSports league, and this is likely to put sound for its expansion in the coming seasons.
Jon Spector, OWL Director of Franchising and Competition, talked about what he wanted to do with the league's reach and the goal of furthering the OWL audience.
"We always wanted our content to be as accessible as possible to fans," Spector said. "This means that you can watch Overwatch League on Twitch, you can watch it on our website, you can watch it in the app, we can now do it with the ESPN partnership, you can watch it on TV in parts of the world. So, looking at what we're most excited about for the ESPN / Disney relationship, it's this ability to bring Overwatch League to a new group of fans who may never have seen us on Twitch before and that's not what it is a chance when we're on ESPN for the finals and prime time to introduce the league to some new fans I'm really excited, but I think it reflects our core strategy Still, they want to consume it, but we want that Overwatch League is there. "
The first season of Overwatch League is already a solid start for Blizzard's venture into the Esports Territory. The more teams are drafted and additional arenas are added, the greater the impression that the league is just beginning. For Blizzard, the Overwatch League is not only the design of the hero shooter itself, which focuses on a diverse and capable group of people who join forces in a team, but also the passionate community that is drawn to their hopes and optimistic view of what the future could be, where people of all ages and backgrounds come together to enjoy something great. This is something people are naturally attracted to and constantly tracking down, and that is the driving force behind the growth of the Overwatch League.