TSM discontinue Overwatch venture

Posted by Radoslav "Nydra" Kolev at 06 May 2017 11:02

The major esports brand is not going to pursue Bizzard's squad based shooter for now after all.

Although it has been in the making for some time now, TSM's Overwatch roster won't happen. With Taylor “B1am” Forrest and Connor “ConnorJ” Johnson at the core, the team was positioned to make waves in the North American scene when their debut would eventually come.

This would've been TSM's second entry into Overwatch. In July 2016, the brand signed the roster of Code7, only to see it transfer to compLexity a few days later due to controversy surrounding Nicolas “NicolasTJO” Aubin and Jake “torkTJO” Lepoff.

It turns out, that debut might be pushed indefinitely. In a TwitLonger, B1am stated that “the team isn’t going to come to fruition”, and mentions Overwatch League as the reason.

It’s no secret at this point that ConnorJ and I have been working with TSM over the past few months to put together an OW roster. Recently we had just closed in our final six after having trialed dozens of extremely talented players, but unfortunately (due to circumstances outside of our control) the team isn't going to come to fruition. After learning more information about the OWL ($$$), TSM decided that it'd be better for the organization to stay out of the competitive scene, at least for now. TSM and I have now mutually parted ways and I hope to be involved again in the scene very soon.


This isn’t the first time the Overwatch League—particularly the uncertainty caused by lack of information—has interfered with teams and organizations. In January, top performing European team REUNITED ceased operations, citing OWL. In April, DreamHack’s director of esports Michael van Diel also pointed to OWL as the reason for stopping the large-scale operations in Overwatch esports.

So we hosted Overwatch at DreamHack Winter - we had a great time doing it. We really love the game and its community. But we haven't requested any tournament licenses for it from Blizzard. There's a lot of reasons for that but overall it just hasn't made sense for us to do so.

The Overwatch League is a factor for our long-term involvement in the title, certainly, along with the restrictions that Blizzard has in place when you're using their IP. As I said, it's a combination of things. And that combination of things makes it not make sense to run on a large scale.

The money factor that B1am mentions likely has to do with the alleged buy-in prices into OWL. According to a report by Sports Business Journal in March, Blizzard have been seeking buy-ins from franchise owners up to $15M for hot esports spots like Los Angeles. Even the mentioned low-end buy-in of $2-5M are a heavy number to ask from an industry, whose endemic brands often lack top shelf sponsors.