Former Dallas Fuel star Brandon ‘Seagull’ Larned thinks the Overwatch League “desperately” needs a player’s association to protect pros – especially with the way the 2020 season went, and Overwatch 2 coming right up.
The OWL offseason is always a chaotic time, but this year seems wilder than in the past, with so many teams dropping rosters and parting ways with players. It can seem overwhelming at times, but if you was to keep track of all the moves easily, just check out our convenient offseason roster hub.
With most one-year contracts for the 2020 season expiring the week of Oct. 12-16, the wave of players being released wasn’t exactly a surprise, but Seagull has argued it still doesn’t bode well for their future in the league.
This is part of the reason why the legendary flex called for an Overwatch League player’s association, one that would hopefully one day be able to negotiate with ownership on the behalf of the league’s pros.
OWL desperately needs a players association.
With OW2 on the horizon, poor viewership, and a rumored late start to the season (April), teams are incentivized to drop players and save money.
Why spend money on talent that might not be talent when OW2 hits? pic.twitter.com/eKfw7W0s9T
— Brandon Larned (@A_Seagull) October 17, 2020
Based on how the 2020 OWL season went (hint: not like anyone hoped/expected it would), rumors around the 2021 schedule, and the fact that Overwatch 2 is right around the corner, Seagull argues that teams will only be looking to save money going forward.
“OWL desperately needs a players association,” the streamer-turned-pro-turned-streamer tweeted. “With OW2 on the horizon, poor viewership, and a rumored late start to the season (April), teams are incentivized to drop players and save money.”
Overwatch League, unlike other esports competitions, only has teams in action during the season, with no official matches taking place during the lengthy offseason. With nothing happening until potentially April, it makes sense for orgs to clear out their rosters and save on paying player’s salaries.
On top of that, Overwatch 2 could very well be out or at least be on its way to a full release by April 2021. “Why spend money on talent that might not be talent when OW2 hits?” Seagull asked, and we can’t really argue with his reasoning there.
Ultimately, the end goal would be to get all Overwatch pros to sign on and form an association representing everyone in the league. Ideally, this would eventually turn into a union like the NFL and NBA’s player associations – one that would be able to negotiate on behalf of all players with OWL ownership.
There are a number of challenges facing a potential OWLPA though. First, there’s the fact that no professional, top-tier esport as of yet has a union that is able to negotiate on behalf of all a league or competition’s players (The Counter-Strike Professional Player’s Association is making some progress, though).
Additionally, it would take every Overwatch pro coming together and signing on to make it happen, which would definitely be tough with pros spread around the world and each having their own individual contracts and careers to consider.
Most of the professional OWL players we saw become free agents following the 2020 season will most likely find new homes for 2021, but a player’s association like Seagull suggested would make the process much easier. If anything, we’re sure to see more discussion about it as we get deeper into the offseason.