Blizzard officially “transitions” from Overwatch League as teams announce departure

Michael Gwilliam
Overwatch League stadium

The end of the Overwatch League is finally upon us with teams officially voting to opt-out Blizzard confirming a “transition” in OW esports.

As Dexerto previously reported, the 19 remaining Overwatch League teams are entitled to receive a $6 million termination fee if they vote against a new operating agreement.

Teams originally paid a whopping $20–35 million in franchise fees plus operating costs throughout the league’s existence, so although the compensation may not be much, there is still incentive.

So far, only one team has announced their exit from the Overwatch League, but the majority of others have also reportedly voted to leave. On November 8, OverActive Media, the owner of the Toronto Defiant, confirmed that they would be leaving OWL.

Overwatch League stage
Teams are voting to leave the Overwatch League.

“This strategic restructuring of our league assets marks a new chapter for OverActive,” co-founder of OverActive Media Adam Adamou said. “We extend our deepest thanks to the Overwatch League, its fans, and the community for their unwavering support. Toronto Defiant has proudly competed under the League’s banner, and we’ve built incredible memories together. As we transition into the next phase of Overwatch esports, we look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Adamou noted that the Toronto Defiant still plans to return to Overwatch esports, so while the league may be coming to an end, some teams may still compete under their OWL brands.

Additionally, Blizzard confirmed that Overwatch esports would be headed in a new direction. In a statement to GG Recon, a league spokesperson stated: “We are transitioning from the Overwatch League and evolving competitive Overwatch in a new direction.”

A report from Jacob Wolf claimed that Activision Blizzard began negotiations with ESL FACEIT Group to run a new Overwatch esports system prior to the vote between franchise owners.

Regardless of the league’s disaster and dwindling viewership, it’s clear that Overwatch competitions will continue, albeit in a lesser capacity. Earlier in 2023, Overwatch League Head Sean Miller told Dexerto that OW esports are “not going away anytime soon.”

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