Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the newest Pro Gaming League, the Overwatch League.
As I write this, the Overwatch League’s first match in underway between the San Francisco Shock and the Los Angeles Valiant, and there’s nearly 400,000 people in the Twitch chat. Needless to say, there’s plenty of people that were waiting with baited breath for this league to finally kick off. But what’s the difference between this and other leagues? It’s simple yet brilliant, representation.
In other leagues, the teams are just names. Cloud 9 doesn’t represent a city, and TSM doesn’t invoke feelings from the people living in the same state that they’re located in, which makes it a bit tough for casual fans to come in. With the Overwatch League, anyone from Philadelphia or Los Angeles can get behind their team, because they represent their city. It’s the same principle as to why American sports are so popular, if you live in that city, you’ll most likely become a fan because that team plays to represent YOUR CITY as well as fans of the team.
Is this the key to their success, or is it just a cheap marketing tactic that’ll fade away? For now, it’s impossible to tell, but judging by the number of people that are watching right now, it’s a safe assumption. Now to see if eSports can truly survive when put on the same pedestal and given the same scheduling as other American sports.