Overwatch Inaugural Season has come to an end with a proper blast. London Spitfire had an amazing campaign which, at the end, finished with the title in their hands. Not just the title but the $1,000,000 in prize pool money as well. Of course, such a huge success for the inaugural season playoffs was expected. Especially considering how much money was involved in everything surrounding it. With that in mind, it’s only logical to see Overwatch League expansion taking place right away.
Even though the regular season wasn’t really the strongest point of this competition (as far as popularity is concerned) the playoffs were a completely different story. Millions of fans from all over the world watched the highly anticipated pinnacle of the first installment of, what seems to be, an impressively well-organized tournament. Needless to say, the hardworking folk over at Blizzard Entertainment made sure everything is according to their high standards.
With all that being said, Overwatch League Season 2 is starting soon so roster changes and everything closely related to that is already ongoing. Alongside that, we’ve also heard some buzz surrounding 2 new teams that could be part of the first Overwatch League expansion for the second season. But, before we jump into that, first we’ll take a step back and do a recap of the Overwatch League Inaugural Season!
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Overwatch League Inaugural Season Playoffs Recap
From the very start of stage one, London Spitfire looked like they could go all way. New York Excelsior were not backing down either and it was not surprising to see these 2 teams battling it out in the Stage 1 title match. After 2 narrow map losses for London Spitfire (99% bar defeat on both maps), London Spitfire team managed to go against all odds in a 5-round thriller. Unfortunately, Stage 2 title match didn’t go Spitfire’s way as they lost (again in a 5-match thriller) against Philadelphia Fusion.
As far as the regular part of the season is concerned, London Spitfire took a solid 5th place after finishing with 24/16 overall score. However, they were fuming with confidence as time went on. Playoffs were a marvelous turn of events. London Spitfire conquered 2 LA teams – Gladiators and Valiant. The biggest surprise was Fusion’s victory against New York Excelsior which were the heavy favorites to win it all. In the grand finals, London Spitfire declassed Philadelphia Fusion and took the big W with 2-0 on the board as the final score.
Season 2 Starts soon | Key Dates
As far as the official dates are concerned, everything that needs to be known about Overwatch League Season 2 dates can be read in the next couple of lines:
“August 1: Signing window opens. Player contracts can be officially extended, players can be traded, and members of the Contenders teams can be signed September 9: Inaugural Season contracts end September 9-October 7: Overwatch expansion teams can sign any free agents October 8: Free agent window opens for all teams.”
Considering the fact August 1st is already behind us, player transfer season has started. Still, we haven’t seen any top-tier roster changes. That doesn’t mean there won’t be any – we’ll just have to wait a bit longer. Especially considering Overwatch League expansions has already been announced and Overwatch eSports betting is going to start flourishing pretty soon.
2 new Overwatch teams already announced
The biggest news regarding Overwatch League expansion happened last week with the announcement of 2 new teams. Atlanta and Guangzhou are the home cities which will hopefully live up to their fans’ expectations. So, without much further adue let’s see what sort of fanbase can we expect from both of these teams:
Over the last decade or so, Atlanta has become sort of a cultural and sports center in its area. After landing a huge MLS franchise, Atlanta secured its own Overwatch League expansion team as well. The name is still unknown but I’m sure it will be an eye-catching one for sure. Atlanta is coming up in the world of esports and it’s a known fact. Its own Overwatch League team will just further up the tally.
Guangzhou, on the other hand, is enjoying somewhat of a similar popularity as Atlanta. China is a huge market for Overwatch with a plethora of highly skilled people who play eSports. MOBA games are still top priority there but Overwatch isn’t straying too far off from their numbers. Guangzhou Overwatch League expansion team is owned by the Nenking Group, a very popular entertainment (and finance) company in China. This means money and bringing in new talents won’t be an issue for this Guangzhou team.
Still no team in the mid-west
If there’s one thing in Overwatch League that fans don’t like, it seems to be the choice of teams. Overwatch League expansions didn’t strike everyone with surprise and joy (except for fans coming from Atlanta and Guangzhou). For instance, the mid-west part of the USA is still very poorly covered by Overwatch League franchising. Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis… none of the big names from Mid-West of USA aren’t represented in the OWL.
The situation is nothing better in Europe too. Fans argue that the European eSports centers (such as Stockholm, Cologne, Paris, and Helsinki) should get at least 1 team before the start of Season 2. Even certain OWL players expressed their wishes for Overwatch League expansion to hit Europe and Asia instead of the USA.
Another thing worth considering is the fact that there are currently 2 teams located in Los Angeles. Of course, I am referring to Valiant and Gladiators. While both of these teams are top tier and have made their way into the playoffs, there are still those who feel one of them should be reallocated. Chicago seems like the most obvious option to fill in the mid-western gap. Still, so far, no announcements have been made regarding this topic.
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What’s the point of having teams with no connections to the cities?
One last thing worth mention is a burning question from Overwatch League fans all over the world. What’s the point of having teams with no connections to the cities? While we are at it – What’s the point of having city names in OWL team names in the first place? This all might sound outright stupid to eSports fans… but the truth is – it’s how it’s always been in the world of professional sports.
Franchise locations exist in football, basketball, baseball and pretty much all other big-time sports out there. Player transfers happen all the time so it’s not surprising to see a lack of homegrown players. At the moment, the best Overwatch players are from South Korea. However, it makes no sense that the Overwatch League consists only of South Korean teams, right?
With that being said, the point of having cities in team names is to attract fans and make them feel connected with their local teams. And that’s despite not knowing the players or their origin. It’s a well-established practice in the sports world so there really shouldn’t be any questions about it.