If there’s a competitive mode, you'll find Korean players at the top of the charts. But the reasons have less to do with esports and more to do with culture and class.
A man’s shirt caught my eye as I was walking around my local shopping mall last week.It was for an Overwatch League team, the San Francisco Shock.And it’s the first time I can recall seeing an esports team’s logo on clothing in public (barring game conventions, trade shows, and conferences, of course).Turns out esports apparel is a growing segment in what Global Industry Analysts pegs as a sports and fitness wear market that could hit $231.7 billion by 2024.No wonder esports teams such as Misfits Gaming are getting into gear.I spoke with Ben Spoont, the cofounder and CEO of Misfits Gaming, about this move.
Hyperice has teamed up with the San Francisco Shock Overwatch League team to help cyberathletes with health and wellness initiatives.The deal shows how Hyperice’s business of catering to traditional athletes can transfer to esports players as well.Esports athletes are known to play for more than 60 hours a week, resulting in muscle soreness and strains throughout the body (this comes from sitting for long stretches, tension from matches, bad ergonomics, and repetitive stress movements).These physical demands have led to injuries and ailments, often leaving esports folk to consider retirement as early as age 22.In an effort to enhance playing conditions, and to improve performance and career longevity for their athletes, the San Francisco Shock wants to do what it can to avoid those problems.“Our athletes are the lifeblood of this organization and we are relentless in our efforts to maintain and improve the health, wellness and career longevity for each and every athlete,” said Brett Lautenbach, president of San Francisco Shock owner NRG Esports in a statement.
When the global Overwatch League has its off season, a regional esports rivalry for Blizzard’s Overwatch video game will take over.The Overwatch League’s California teams are creating the California Cup, which will pit Northern California Overwatch teams against Southern California teams.The competition pits the Los Angeles Valiant against the San Francisco Shock, two inaugural teams in Blizzard’s popular Overwatch League.The official home-and-home Overwatch League offseason event begins on October 20 at Esports Arena Santa Ana and ends on November 10 at Esports Arena Oakland.Both locations will feature meet-and-greet events with the new-look Shock and Valiant rosters, amateur and collegiate Overwatch tournaments, exclusive merchandise, free-to-play computers and more.Each event will culminate in a match between the Valiant and Shock to determine the guardian of the California Cup.
If you’re sick of hearing about esports, you need to get over it.Today, in fact, Activision Blizzard announced that the Overwatch League playoffs will be aired on ESPN and Disney XD.The Overwatch League in itself is a huge step for esports, as it’s the first true city-based league for a competitive video game.While most esports leagues are comprised of privately owned teams with little or nothing to do with geography, Overwatch League is a pro league made up of city-based teams such as the Dallas Fuel or the San Francisco Shock.The agreement, which also includes a recap/highlights package from 2018 Grand Finals coverage on ABC on July 29, marks the first time that live competitive gaming has aired on ESPN in primetime, and will be the first broadcast of an eSports championship on ABC.Activision Blizzard said in the announcement that this is just the start of a multi-year agreement.
CANNES, France—Overwatch League commissioner Nate Nanzer, Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues CMO Daniel Cherry III and David “Nomy” Ramirez, pro gamer on the Overwatch League’s San Francisco Shock team, spoke today in the brand’s cabana about esports, Overwatch and the implications for advertising, women in gaming and the evolution of sports as we know it.We want to move beyond that,” Cherry said.That direction is “competitive entertainment—real-time and high energy, unlike baseball, which is a nice bang for your buck but takes four hours.”For Blizzard, esports is “a new strain of sports” that sets itself apart from what Cherry called “t-sports,” his name for traditional sports.To understand this, it’s critical for mainstream brands to rid themselves of a few stereotypes.Five OWL (Overwatch League) teams have personal trainers, which is par for the course.
Indeed, esports revenue is likely to climb to more than $900 million this year as television channels like ESPN continue to incorporate e-sports into their daily lineups, and streaming services like Amazon's Twitch become more mainstream.Business Insider got to interview professional gamers who play in the Overwatch League, competing at the highest levels of Blizzard's acclaimed and best-selling competitive first-person shooter "Overwatch."We got an inside look at the ups and downs of their everyday lives and, the journeys that they've taken to get to the highest level for their game of choice.These practice hours include running drills and skirmishes.Any level of public notoriety comes with the responsibility of learning to be a role model for young fans — especially since "Overwatch" is smash hit with younger and older fans alike.Martinez is referring to the practice of streaming "Overwatch" matches on platforms like Amazon's Twitch — something that is not required by the Overwatch League, but which several players do on their own time to promote their personal brand and blow off steam.