How Blizzard Entertainment Is Growing eSports Fandom At The Local Level
The newly established Overwatch League lets players organize and connect with competitive gamers in their area
Game developer Blizzard is working hard to usher in eSports as a mainstream form of American entertainment. To achieve this, the company is organizing small grassroots events that give players who want to play professionally a venue to show their skills, as well as draw in audiences who might not be familiar with the sport. The newly established Overwatch League (OWL) lets players organize matches in their local area, as well as book venues and put on their own tournaments for the popular game Overwatch.
While eSports is already huge in countries such as South Korea and China, it has been somewhat slower in gaining a foothold in the U.S.. Blizzard’s approach with OWL is to get fans interested and involved at the local level rather than simply stumbling upon it through streaming services such as Twitch.
A recent article in Endgadget profiled a small club in New York City and interviewed Richard Ng, an up-and-coming player. “Quite frankly, city squads have made eSports easier to talk about,” Ng said. “The product is the same as other eSports, but there’s an ease in being able to have something in common with other fans, to all unite and cheer on our city. That’s the beauty of all this.”
As the sport continues to grow, Blizzard is looking to position itself as both a game developer and eSports organizer, playing a central role in the rising industry.