Overwatch League looks to catch Fire

After a year in which global esports organization Cloud9 became one of only two organizations to snag a slot in the Overwatch League and League of Legends’ NA LCS, secured a $25 million round of Series A funding from the likes of World Wrestling Entertainment and locked in sponsors such as T-Mobile, team co-founder and CEO Jack Etienne now opens 2018 with the UK in tow as the London Spitfire begin play today in OWL against Florida Mayhem. As the team prepares for takeoff, Cynopsis spoke with Etienne about the League, London and how his job has evolved.

Etienne on the announcement of Overwatch League: At that time, there wasn’t really any franchise like it that had been announced yet. It was something that I had wanted to a long time, a long-term partnership with a publisher in a league that had revenue-sharing where we were building something together on a large scale. When it was first presented to me, I was like ‘this is what I’ve been working toward for years.’ I just knew that I needed to be part of this thing.

On selecting London: London was one of the top cities I was looking at right from the get-go. I wanted a really large market that could get support. There were only two cities in the world where I wanted Cloud9 to host a team and London was one of them.

On the evolution of the game: If you look at the finished product from 2016 and how it progressed into 2017, the game is much easier to watch, the action is easier to follow. So – in a really short period of time – they really improved the quality of being a fan in the game. You don’t really see, from the top down, publishers who are really interested in making a really good esports league and I feel that Overwatch is one of the most watchable FPSs on the market now.

On how Overwatch League changed the conversation with sponsors: It was really interesting that around a year ago, after this was announced, sponsors were interested, but now they are full-on wanting to be a part of this. What’s really special about this FPS is that sometimes there are concerns with some of the other shooters out there that they may be too violent and that some sponsors may not want to get behind them. Overwatch doesn’t have any of those concerns. It is very family friendly. What’s really cool is that you are seeing young fans and players coming, where both generations play the game together. I think that when the brands see the demographic of these fans, it gets them very excited about what they can do with it.

On how his role has changed: As time goes by, I find myself now delegating more responsibilities to other people we’ve brought into Cloud 9, which allows me to focus on a) what I am really passionate about and b) what I think is the lifeline of this company which I think is a good player experience and that our players are being taken care of. I used to be much more involved in account management, etc. but I can now focus on recruitment, talking to investors and our players.

Related Stories

Comedy Central gets serious

Comedy Central gets serious

Comedy Central’s The Opposition with Jordan Klepper will film a special episode, The Opposition Chaperones Democracy: Kids Just Wanna Take Guns, taping and airing Thursday, March 22. The episode, filmed in front of a Rockville, MD audience of activist teens, parents and rally attendees ahead of the March 24 gun reform March for Our Lives […]

Legacy brands, spinoffs bolster Discovery Family lineup

Legacy brands, spinoffs bolster Discovery Family lineup

Discovery Family is heralding the return of established kids and family content bolstered by the launch of new series that build on legacy brands- including a primetime Cake Boss spinoff that’ll be exclusive to the network. It’s also continuing to add more programming to the Discovery Family Go app for live and on-demand streaming. Family […]

Season 2 of Ready Jet Go! ready for blastoff on PBS Kids

Season 2 of Ready Jet Go! ready for blastoff on PBS Kids

Season 2 of animated space-themed series Ready Jet Go! blasts off Monday, April 2 on PBS Kids with a week of girl-empowering episodes featuring the adventures of Boxwood Terrace’s own Mindy Melendez, starting with the half-hour special “Mindy Turns 5”. More new eps will roll out each Wednesday in June and July.

NBC Sports makes another big rugby play

NBC Sports makes another big rugby play (Facebook)

NBC Sports Group inked a deal with European Professional Club Rugby that will feature an exclusive multi-year US media rights agreement for the Champions Cup. The agreement will see NBC Sports carry more than 150 hours of Champions Cup coverage next season across NBC, NBCSN, NBCSports.com and its digital platforms. “We’re excited to partner with […]