OWL production goes ham during longest pause with comical time killers - Dexerto

OWL production goes ham during longest pause with comical time killers

Published: 19/Aug/2019 18:24 Updated: 19/Aug/2019 18:46

by Alan Bernal


Overwatch League fans got a lot more than they bargained for when a game between the Guangzhou Charge and the Dallas Fuel had the longest pause in the history of the OWL.

Typical OWL pauses to a match range from simple hardware malfunctions to more complicated fixes due to untimely bugs, but the problems are usually sorted away as fast as the problem tends to arise.

That wasn’t the case during the August 18 bout between Stage Four’s third place Charge and last place Dallas Fuel where a stoppage of play started to test the improv abilities of the Overwatch League production team.

After exhausting a video featurette about 10 minutes long of all the stage finalists, there was still no end in sight for the unusual delay. With an arena still packed with fans, the production team stepped up to keep spirits alive as much as they could.

This included another full-length feature filled with highlights of OWL players on Horizon Lunar Colony, a highly problematic locale in Overwatch that will be making its way back to the league’s map pool for the playoffs.

Coming back from yet another break in production, the team passed the baton to Emily Tang who took charge of the pause by conducting on-stage interviews with members of the Fuel. While the interviews were short, Pongphop ‘Mickie’ Rattanasangchod was able to keep the stage alive with his burst of energy from the impromptu interview.

But the undisputed highlight of the night came when the OWL turned into WWE-style madness when Corey “Corey” Nigra of the Washington Justice took on analyst ‘Bren’ Hook in a bizarre archery contest to kill some time.

The bare chested, tights-wearing analyst Bren was able to take the contest in a 7-4 route, with a ton of time used up in between.

After the whole delay ordeal and matchup between the two teams had ended, Dallas Fuel Head Coach Aaron ‘Aero’ Atkins offered some insight as to why it took so long to get players loaded into the game.

“To give a little insight from our perspective,” Aero said. “There was no mouse issue. Unkoe’s character bugged in game and unable to use his hero. Naturally we asked for a pause to see if there was a solution.

“After Blizzard tried to fix it,” Aero continued. “We were presented with the option of reloading the state of the game using the OWL match time machine since we lost ~25 seconds and an ult trying to fix it. We agreed.”

Even though it took a long time to come to a solution, the OWL did their best to keep spirits high while they worked out a way to produce a fair outcome for both teams.


Activision in talks to reduce fees owed by CDL & Overwatch League teams

Published: 2/Dec/2020 22:14 Updated: 2/Dec/2020 22:35

by Theo Salaun


Recent reports from The Esports Observer indicate that Activision Blizzard are in the midst of discussions to possibly reduce the amount the amount owed by Overwatch League and Call of Duty League franchises as part of their entry fees.

With all OWL and CDL plans derailed over the past year, Activision are reportedly trying to rework the hefty investments that organizations have made into their franchising opportunities. When the massive game development company pitched both leagues, neither was expected to be profitable in the short-term, but projections have taken an even greater hit due to current global restrictions.

A groundbreaking esports concept centered around the city-based model that is used in traditional sports, Activision required $20 million entry fees for the OWL’s first 12 teams and then fees in the range between $30 to $60 million for its next eight. For the CDL’s inaugural season, 12 teams needed to put up at least $25 million apiece, even more for cities that were in high-demand.

Now that the plans for local events have understandably shifted, neither league is expanding for their next season and ownership groups in both are looking for ways to save cash. As reported by The Esports Observer’s Adam Stern, this has engendered cost-cutting discussions with Activision’s latest new senior executive hire, Tony Petitti.

overwatch league 2020 event crowd
Ben Pursell For Blizzard Entertainment
One of the many avid crowds at Overwatch League events.

Petitti, formerly Major League Baseball’s deputy commissioner, was hired by Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick to a senior role involved with both of their leagues as the President of Sports and Entertainment. He joins Johanna Faries, a former National Football League executive, who brings a traditional sports perspective as the commissioner for both the CDL and OWL.

Given their experience with city-based sports leagues, Activision is likely aware of the profitability challenges that their current esport and sport investment groups are facing. As such, it should be no surprise that they are willing to have conversations about concessions that can make current projections fit closer to the original expectations.

As Stern reports, those discussions have included discounting some of the original entry fees: “one idea that is being weighed is reducing the amount of money they owe to the video game maker.” 

Call of Duty League LAN
Call of Duty League
Following in the OWL’s footsteps, the CDL also had huge enthusiasm for live events.

With Immortals Gaming Club selling their Los Angeles Call of Duty franchise to 100 Thieves and reportedly being interested in selling their OWL spot as well, many are wondering if franchise valuations have shifted.

Fortunately, it appears that the profitability projections have remained somewhat consistent despite current predicaments. As reported by Forbes’ Christina Settimi, 100 Thieves COO John Robinson would not set an exact figure on their LA Thieves purchase, but suggested that “franchise values have held up.”

Activision would likely want to avoid an exodus of owners, so these discussions to cut costs and protect brand health are reportedly ongoing.