San Francisco Shock finds new home in Academy of Art University campus

San Francisco Shock new home
Image credit: San Francisco Shock

Overwatch League (OWL) franchise San Francisco Shock has announced a partnership with Academy of Art University for the 2023 OWL season.

Academy of Arts’ San Francisco campus will be the official home of the San Francisco Shock, allowing the franchise to access its facilities and housing for the forthcoming season. The university will also host watch parties and events on campus.

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San Francisco Shock is one of the most successful teams in the OWL. The franchise won back-to-back championships in 2019 and 2020, and lost in the final to Dallas Fuel last season. NRG Esports, which owns San Francisco Shock, recently acquired Counter Logic Gaming’s slot in the LCS, North America’s premier League of Legends competition.

Last month, San Francisco Shock partnered with Korean fried chicken restaurant Bonchon.

“We’re proud to call Academy of Art University our home for this season,” said Cory Vincent, VP of Marketing at San Francisco Shock. “Not only will we get to work out of a great facility, we also finally get to connect with the best fans in Overwatch here in the Bay Area.” 

The OWL has, like the wider esports industry itself, faced headwinds of late. According to a Jacob Wolf report, in January the majority of OWL teams started a collective bargaining process against the league after repeated shortcomings in revenue and sky-high operating costs. Despite this — and in large part thanks to its return to Twitch, as well as the release of Overwatch 2 — OWL viewership in 2022 increased from the previous few years, according to Esports Charts data.

The 2022 playoffs had the highest peak viewership of any OWL event since its inaugural season in 2018.

Billy Studholme
Billy is Esports Insider's freelance Assistant Editor. He mostly reports on the business and economic landscape of esports. He has written for the Washington Post, Digiday, Dexerto, and other outlets both endemic and non-endemic to the esports industry.