If you tuned into the opening broadcast of the Overwatch League on Wednesday, then you got treated to the new face of esports in all of its glory. There wasn't a single thing that was disappointing or lackluster about the broadcast. From the venue to the talent, everything was bright, engaging, and hype!
There are five things that Blizzard nailed in this first broadcast. If Blizzard can replicate, or improve on the Overwatch League's current offering, then the OWL will have a prosperous future.
The opening to the Overwatch League was expertly broadcast and as polished as any standard sporting event you've ever seen. Game coverage was scattered with several different camera angles, map placements, instant replays, recaps, and more. Breaks and halftimes were labeled with countdowns until the action began again, and commentary breaks were short, sweet, and to the point.
Shots of the fans in the crowd and intimate shots of the players at their computers gave great insight on what it was like to be there. All in all, the OWL opener was a very professional broadcast with a dash of irreverent Blizzard charm.
4. Social Media
If you've been on the internet at all in the past few weeks you'll have noticed some very involved social media surrounding the League and all the teams individually. Each OWL team has a unique online presence that's made it easier for fans to get to know the teams, and interact with the franchise.
The official hashtags, the OWL Twitter page recapping and sharing highlights, and especially the hilarious banter between team Twitter accounts, makes you feel involved and encourages you to hype your experience online during matches.
3. Incorporating the Fans
It's clear that the fans in attendance weren't afraid to show their colors, and the broadcast wasn't afraid to include their antics, even during analytical recaps. Fans were displaying homemade signs, wearing team merchandise, cheering, chanting, and standing during the most exciting moments.
Seeing the obvious passion conveyed by the people in the arena only helps to legitimize the Overwatch League and inspire fans at home to feel it too.
Perhaps the only thing more impressive than the pros playing, was the stage! Lit up with team colors, displaying breathtaking views of the maps the teams were about to play, and adorned with a gigantic halo (reminiscent of Mercy's headpiece), the venue was a sight to see.
To be fair, watching people sit at monitors isn't exactly riveting, so this stage had a lot of work to do.
Unlike most esport arenas, the OWL arena was completely lit up, and all of the casters, fans, players, and staff were visible throughout the matches. You can't help but notice that every single person involved was completely and dramatically hyped up.
The Overwatch League is a new frontier of esports, and arguably the most important part of any esport is the excitement people feel while watching the pros play. It legitimizes the entertainment value and attracts more people to watch. So far, OWL has pulled all the stops to make the first season explosive and entertaining for everyone, not just hardcore esport fans.
Photos courtesy of Blizzard