Esports conglomerate OverActive Media has announced that its Overwatch League franchise Toronto Defiant has exited the league.
OverActive Media explained that it has terminated its Team Participation Agreement in the Overwatch League and received a payout of $6m (£4.9m) as a result.
The announcement corroborates reports that the Overwatch League is likely to be dissolved, with franchises receiving payouts for terminating existing agreements with Activision Blizzard. Independent journalist Jacob Wolf highlighted that Overwatch 2 esports could be organised by ESL FACEIT Group in 2024, however, this has yet to be officially confirmed.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that Overwatch League franchise owners would vote on an updated ‘operating agreement’ that also allowed organisations to opt out of the league and receive a $6m termination payment. Given the statement from OverActive Media, it seems that the vote has been completed, with Toronto Defiant the first franchise to announce its departure.
Esports Insider has reached out to Activision Blizzard to ask whether other franchise owners have exited, and will update this article if a response is received.
According to OverActive Media, the company aims to ‘realign its strategic focus’ and prepare for ‘the new era of Overwatch esports in 2024’, highlighting that the termination may not signal a departure from the scene. Toronto Defiant joined the Overwatch League as one of six expansion franchises ahead of the 2019 season.
The financial implications of the agreement will be reflected in OverActive’s Q4 2023 results. The total payment from Activision Blizzard was $5.34m due to $666,000 having already been paid in advance to Toronto Defiant. The company has also revealed that the payout will bolster OverActive’s cash position to over CAD $15m (~£11.4m).
Adam Adamou, Co-Founder and Interim CEO of OverActive Media, commented: “This strategic restructuring of our league assets marks a new chapter for OverActive.
“We extend our deepest thanks to the Overwatch League, its fans, and the community for their unwavering support. Toronto Defiant has proudly competed under the League’s banner, and we’ve built incredible memories together. As we transition into the next phase of Overwatch esports, we look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead.”