Blizzard lays down the law on Overwatch Contenders team amid Toronto Esports drama

R: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Toronto Esports have announced that they will be pulling out of Overwatch effective immediately after being informed by Blizzard that they would have to re-brand to continue competing in Contenders.

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The ruling comes as a result of the new Toronto-based Overwatch League franchise, Toronto Defiant, having purchased exclusive rights to the Toronto name within Blizzard’s Overwatch leagues and tournaments.

Toronto Esports were apparently given six weeks to change their branding, but instead have opted to depart from the game entirely and immediately, declaring “good riddance” in their announcement.

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The announcement comes shortly after Toronto Esports came under criticism for some of their recent social media interactions. 

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Some examples of the behavior included retweets on political topics from the official account and owner Ryan Pallett’s responses when the organization was criticized by fans and other industry figures.

Toronto Esports had also faced criticism for their approach to developing a rivalry with the Toronto Defiant, which many fans viewed as excessive goading on social media in an attempt to provoke a show-match between two teams competing at different levels of the competitive Overwatch hierarchy.

Toronto Esports was acting as the academy team for Boston Uprising. Chris ‘Huk’ Loranger, President of Gaming for Uprising owners The Kraft Group, has stated that the team and staff contracts, as well as the Contenders slot, will remain with Boston, and that they had no input in Toronto Esports’ decision to pull out.

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The team will continue to compete in Contenders, with a new name and brand to be announced at an as-yet undetermined time.