Overwatch League teams start legal battle against OWL for economic relief

Josh Tyler
Overwatch League

After several down years, the Overwatch League teams have coalesced to begin a legal battle for lost revenue.

It’s been a rough few years for the Overwatch League. Despite paying astronomical prices for franchises, OWL owners have seen viewership constantly dwindle due to the global lockdown and following the switch of broadcasting rights from Twitch to YouTube.

This has led to declining revenues, which only look even more serious as the FTC is currently seeking to block the acquisition of parent company Activision by Microsoft.

All of this combined has not put Overwatch or its esports league in a stable spot over the last three years. And the owners of the OWL teams are growing impatient.

Overwatch League teams to begin collective bargaining

As reported in detail by Jacob Wolf, owners of the OWL teams have engaged with the British media and tech law firm Sheridans to begin the process of engaging in collective bargaining.

According to Wolf’s report, the goal of said collective bargaining is “for the teams to be awarded some form of economic relief to promote sustainability after each franchise spent somewhere between $7.5 to $10 million in franchise payments over the past six years, as well as more than $1 million in operating costs each year to maintain their teams.”

Given the current instability in and around Overwatch League, it’s understandable that owners would be seeking a new way to stabilize their operating costs. However, as noted above the timing could not be worse for Activision.

While there was hope that the recent launch of Overwatch 2 might stir renewed fan interest in the Overwatch League, this new movement towards collective bargaining doesn’t seem to indicate that the OWL owners are confident in the league’s future.

Talks are still in the preliminary stages, according to Wolf, and there’s no indication as to whether this could explode into a full-blown suit if collective bargaining fails. For now, OWL fans will keep a close eye on the future of their league.