As we count down to the Overwatch League Grand Final in Philadelphia this Sunday, Cynopsis Esports caught up with Pete Vlastelica, Commissioner of the Overwatch League and CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports, to talk about the season that was and the changes ahead for the organization. Don’t miss the Grand Final pitting Vancouver/San Francisco on Sunday, livestreamed on Twitch in 190 countries and broadcast on ABC from 3-6p. The match will also be available on the ESPN app, overwatchleague.com, and the Overwatch League app.
Vlastelica on the most surprising takeaway from this past season of Overwatch League: The Overwatch League was the first league ever to host home esports matches, and they were amazing experiences for fans. To see home crowds in Dallas, Atlanta, and Los Angeles cheering on their home teams was electric and gives us a major reason to believe our home-and-away vision for esports is going to be successful. I’d also add that seeing our viewership increase with younger audiences is very encouraging. We’re by far the fastest growing sports league in the 18-34 demographic.
On his favorite memory from Blizzard Arena: It’s hard to pick just one. Every time our two Los Angeles franchises played each other was an event. Fans from both the LA Gladiators and LA Valiant would go back and forth with chants while their teams competed against each other on-stage. It was also personally rewarding for me to hand our 2019 Rookie of the Year trophy to “Haksal” from the Vancouver Titans, and our 2019 MVP award to the San Francisco Shock’s “Sinatraa.” San Francisco and Vancouver are playing in our Grand Finals on Sunday at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, live on ABC at 3 p.m. ET, so it’ll be awesome to watch those two young stars compete to determine the best Overwatch League team in 2019.
On team venues next season: We set the benchmark for live esports entertainment with Blizzard Arena and our 2018 Grand Finals, and we want to make sure we’re bringing a similarly amazing experience to fans in home markets in 2020. We have worked hard with all 20 teams to support them to find the right venues for next season, and we’re very proud of the results. Many Overwatch League teams are already on-sale with 2020 tickets.
On future expansion: We added eight new teams to the 2019 season, which has been tremendous, but we’re very focused on our 2020 season right now. We’re excited to bring world-class live esports events to home cities all over the world for more fans to enjoy, which has been our vision since the Overwatch League officially kicked off last season.