The Argument for Geolocation in the Overwatch League
With Overwatch League’s Commissioner Nate Nanzer announcing home city games coming to the Overwatch League during the 2020 season, there has been huge debate over if this is something the league really needs to strive for. I say yes! Overwatch League moving to geolocated home/away games is imperative for the league because it will grow the local communities, shift costs to several organizations, and reach the traditional sport model it has been striving for.
The biggest advantage the league will gain from having teams play in their home cities, would be the fans. Though the Overwatch League is heavily funded by investors, it is able to see value and potential return because the fans are so invested.City based teams have proven to be one of the most explosive attributes of the Overwatch League. Because the fandom surrounds so heavily around these local team, it only makes sense to grab that and keep running with it. The next step of course being, bringing these team home!
I’d like you to imagine what this would look like in practice. Let’s say you are a die hard Washington Justice fan like myself. Every season picking up season tickets, going out to games several times a month, sharing in team fandom with other die-hards in the arena, repping your team’s jersey and actually having it recognized, and overall just sharing in person this special interest that for so long we’ve only be able to hold online. This is where Overwatch League will flourish.
One of the major issues with the Overwatch League at the moment, is the return on investment. A huge cost sink for Blizzard has been production and staffing for their matches at Blizzard Arena. I think moving to these home games will help this tremendously. When you have teams playing in their own arena you create a new large source of income. Local sponsors and more tickets sales will inject a major upsurge into this ecosystem. My hopes with this, is that it not only creates more jobs in the industry, but also secures that holied ROI these investors want to see.
Fits the Modern Sports Model
The Overwatch League is making strides to replicate how most modern sports are run. If you look to the NBA, NHL, or NFL, OWL almost fits the template. With the teams moving to home games, we are going to see the vision be fulfilled. Though I don’t believe all esports need to fit this template, this is the vision of the OWL and if they are mimicking it, they need to go all the way and secure this. By securing a spot with modern sports, OWL has room to grow culturally in these towns and solidify themselves in the mainstream.
Shiting to geolocated home/away games provides so many advantages for the Overwatch League. It is the vision that they build the league around, and this is one of the final building blocks left to form a solid foundation that this cultural movement will be build upon. We as fans need to support this move, and do what we can to support this massive jump into a mainstream role.
Be sure to stay tuned in here at PoppedOff.com for the con of the topic, from Andrew Nimsgern