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Blizzard says it’s building ‘revitalized’ Overwatch esports after OWL season ends

Blizzard says it’s building ‘revitalized’ Overwatch esports after OWL season ends


With the conclusion of the League’s sixth season, Blizzard seemingly confirms that the Overwatch League as it currently exists is no more.

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Photo taken of the Florida Mayhem as they celebrate winning the 2023 Overwatch League Grand Finals
Image: Sebastien Martin-Schultz / Blizzard

Hours after the Florida Mayhem were crowned the 2023 Overwatch League Grand Champions, the Overwatch League itself has likely come to its end. In a post on X (formerly Twitter) this morning, Blizzard said that it’s working on “building our vision of a revitalized esports program.”

It is no secret that the league has been in dire straits. Over the last few years, there were numerous reports that the league was struggling financially. Advertisers had pulled out after stories of sexual harassment and abuse at Blizzard broke in 2021. Team organizations were struggling to pay franchising fees, strained by the depressed economic conditions facilitated by the covid-19 pandemic. One team, the Chengdu Hunters, disbanded entirely in the middle of the 2023 season. And finally, after failing to renegotiate a deal with its Chinese publishing partner, NetEase, some Blizzard games went offline in China — one of Overwatch’s biggest markets — and remain offline to this day.

As a result, earlier this year, a financial filing from Blizzard confirmed that franchise owners would vote on whether or not to continue the league under new terms or agree to a $6 million per team termination fee. Though we do not know if the vote has happened, it is all but certain that — amidst an already adverse esports climate — the owners will take the money and leave.

When the news of the vote broke, Overwatch League director Sean Miller stated that even if franchise owners no longer wish to participate as a league, competitive Overwatch will continue beyond the 2023 season.

“I want to be clear on one thing in particular, that Overwatch remains committed to a competitive ecosystem in 2024 and beyond,” he told The Verge in an interview. Also, even in this year, competitive Overwatch will not evaporate entirely as Blizzard continues its marginalized gender tournament, Calling All Heroes, and World Cup programming.

While this post is not direct confirmation (and The Verge has reached out to Blizzard for that confirmation), it seems to affirm what the Overwatch League community has known for a while now: the Overwatch League, as we know it, is over.