Overwatch community laments OWL’s demise: “The honor of a lifetime”
Esports industry professionals, Overwatch League casters, current coaches and players took to Twitter to mourn the imminent death of the esports competition.
The Overwatch League may soon be shuttered as we now know it, according to a report from The Verge. The report says around 50 employees from Activision Blizzard’s esports department have been laid off, with one former quoted employee telling the publication that the company might be closing its esports division for good.
This also coincided with Activision Blizzard’s release of its second-quarter financial results, which included a section about OWL team’s imminent vote on a new operating agreement. If the current teams do not want to continue to compete in the league under the new agreement, they will receive a termination fee of $6 million.
Many esports industry professionals do not see teams declining to take that exit package and are predicting an end of the Overwatch League. This has caused multiple members of the broadcast and former OWL players to lament the current state of their esport on Twitter.
Overwatch community reminisces about the league’s past
Former OWL casters, and veteran esports commentator, Erik ‘DoA’ Lonnquist shouted out the behind-the-scenes staff for the league and also commented on its demise.
“We had the right people, the resources, and most importantly a great game. The people at the top changed in 2019 and things took a nose dive. I left at the end of that year because I didn’t like the combination of things we were promised as talent not being delivered and the incompetence in the upper echelons of OWL leadership,” he said.
“I honestly think Overwatch esports will be better if OWL goes away.”
Jacob ‘JAKE’ Lyon, a former Overwatch pro and current desk analyst for the league, gave a classy sendoff to the league.
“End of an era. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s been an honor,” he tweeted.
Longtime OWL caster Mitch ‘Uber’ Leslie also said a goodbye of sorts the league.
“Suffice to say that telling the stories of our remarkable players in the OWL has been the honor of a lifetime. Regardless of what is to come, I will continue to find ways to shine a light on greatness and continue to share my passion with you all,” the caster said.
Brennon ‘Bren’ Hook, who first gained popularity on the OWL broadcast and is now commentating for the Valorant Champions Tour, also touched on the news.
“What I can say is that I wouldn’t be the person I am today without OWL. Working it during some of my formative years under tutelage from some of the greatest was a blessing,” he said.
Salome ‘Soembie’ Gschwind-Repp, a long-time member of the broadcast who started working for the league in 2017, put out a one-word tweet and a smiley face emoji.
“Well…,” she said.
Matthew ‘super’ DeLisi, who was once considered the face of the league before his 2023 retirement, said he doesn’t see a world in which every OWL franchise doesn’t take the $6 million and leave.
“Despite leaving, I’ve always rooted for OWLs success and have had fantastic memories with it, very unfortunate and sad to see,” he said.
The current OWL season is still ongoing as teams will start their second week of Summer Stage competition on July 21.