djWHEAT explains how Overwatch League was a “horrible” deal for Twitch
Former Twitch Director of Creator Development Marcus ‘djWHEAT’ Graham slammed the Overwatch League during one of his first streams as an ex-Twitch employee, blasting the original deal with OWL.
The Overwatch League was one of the first professional esports leagues to implement a city-based team structure akin to traditional sports. The hype and potential resulted in plenty of big name investors such as New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft getting in on the action.
However, while some saw the original vision Blizzard had for the league and bought in on the excitement, others in esports were critical of it since its inception.
As it turns out, even top Twitch personalities such as djWHEAT opposed the original broadcasting deal with Twitch that reportedly cost nearly $100m.
djWHEAT slams Twitch’s “dumb” Overwatch League deal
Speaking to his chat as a now ex-Twitch employee, djWHEAT discussed the Overwatch League and its original pitch to investors – something he felt was a bad idea.
“At the time I lived with Kevin Lin who was like the Head of Esports, and he’d come home and I’d say, ‘Kevin, this is f**king dumb. This is never going to happen.’ And the consensus was ‘what if it does?’” Graham recalled. “And I’m like ‘there is no what if. It’s not going to f**king work!’”
The streamer then provided an analogy comparing Blizzard’s push of Overwatch as an esport as expecting a baby to run before it can even walk.
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“Of course, I was not able to speak publicly about OWL when I worked at Twitch,” he added later on. “But you better believe that I was the guy at every meeting going ‘this is stupid and you’re all stupid.’ And every single person who worked on the team at that time can confirm that they got tired of me talking about how horrible of a f**king deal this was for a year and a half.”
“I’ll tell you why it didn’t feel good,” he continued. “Because that league cost a lot of money and a year later, eleven of my staff were laid off!”
Following Twitch’s deal with the Overwatch League, YouTube signed a three-year contract with Activision Blizzard to stream the new CDL, OWL and other esports events.
The Overwatch League’s fifth season is beginning in April on an early build of Overwatch 2. Only time will tell of interest in the game’s sequel can boost viewership and other issues owners have with the esport.