Over half of the Overwatch League teams have joined forces and have reportedly partnered with British law firm Sheridans to start a collective bargaining move against Activision-Blizzard and the Overwatch League. The participating teams are having difficulties managing operating coats and are missing revenue goals continually. The revealed that the teams have spent over $16 million USD on a league that has not experienced profitability for a while.
Overwatch League 2023’s future may be in jeopardy
Overwatch League teams have lower operating costs than other popular franchised leagues but the buy-in cost to enter the league is much higher. According to a the buy-in cost was $20 Million USD in Season 1 and that has increased to up to $35 Million in 2022.
The teams have partnered with law firm Sheridans, a law firm that specializes in sports and esports. Sheridans will be responsible for negotiating better terms that could help ease the operational burdens of the participating teams.
The decision to lobby against Activision-Blizzard was made by OverActive Media, which is the group that manages Toronto Defiant. OverActive has previously worked with Sheridans for its League European Championship team MAD Lions.
According to Jacob Wolf, “The goal for those discussions is for the teams to be awarded some form of economic relief to promote sustainability after each franchise spent somewhere between $7.5 to $10 million in franchise payments over the past six years, as well as more than $1 million in operating costs each year to maintain their teams.”
While Overwatch League continues to be popular, its viewership is nowhere close to the likes of Valorant, CS:GO, League of Legends, or Dota 2 to justify the operational costs borne by the teams.
The global pandemic did not do the teams any favors either and Valorant has stolen the spotlight. Overwatch 2’s launch was also plagued with issues and the league had polarizing metas where only one team comp was viable for months. With variety being sucked out of the game, it is no longer fun to watch Overwatch esports as a viewer and Blizzard will need to make serious changes to the game’s balancing, and Activision-Blizzard needs to rework its terms with pro teams to make the league sustainable.