Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League, a franchised esports league based in North America, has shared a statement about the competition’s immediate future.
In a social media post, Overwatch League stated that the League will “focus on building a vision of a revitalised esports programme.” Whilst this does confirm that the league is set to undergo somewhat of a restructuring, it is unclear what changes will entail.
The league shared the news after the completion of the Overwatch League 2023 Playoffs, a season-ending event that took place in the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto, Canada. The Playoffs’ viewership was halved when compared to last year, continuing the unfortunate trend of declining numbers for what was one of the most-anticipated esports leagues ever created.
The 2022 edition of the playoffs saw just under 400,000 peak viewers and 216,000 average viewers tune in. In comparison, the 2023 playoffs attracted ju st 157,000 peak viewers and 95,000 average viewers, according to data platform Esports Charts.
2023 has been a tough year for the Overwatch League. The esports competition’s future hangs in the balance and the 2023 edition might be the last time the Overwatch League was played in its current format. With declining viewership and teams not being happy with the amount of revenue generated by the league, Overwatch League franchise owners are set to vote on an updated ‘operating agreement’ that will allow organisations to opt out of the league.
Earlier in the year, OverActive Media, the owners of Toronto Defiant, reached an agreement with Activision Blizzard that eliminated the organisation’s outstanding fees. Similar talks were reportedly held with other organisations.
In September, it was reported that the Overwatch League is in talks with third-party tournament organisers to revitalise the league in 2024, which aligns with the news of a revitalisation Activision Blizzard shared via social media. It is unclear whether the League will continue through a partnership with another tournament organiser, however, the League did lay off several dozen employees earlier this year.