The day Supervision Fans around the league had prepared for it to finally arrive. Yesterday, OverActive Media, parent company of the Toronto Defiant, confirmed his departure from Supervision League. The company announced that, as part of its agreement with Activision Blizzard, it would receive a termination fee of $6 million, ending all of its commitments to the League. This confirms that the majority of teams met and voted to terminate their agreements with the League, and each team owner received a termination fee. The result is that the Supervision The league finally ends after six seasons.
“We are transitioning the Overwatch League and evolving competitively. Supervision in a new direction,” said John Nomis, associate public relations manager for the Supervision League, in a statement to The edge. “We are grateful to everyone who made OWL possible and remain focused on building our vision of a revitalized esports program. “We are excited to share details with all of you in the near future.”
Photo courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
This is an ending that came with a whimper rather than a bang. And while that seems sad and somewhat pathetic given the League’s lofty goals of revolutionizing the esports scene, I’m okay with this ending. Happy even.
I (and most importantly, the army of wonderful humans who lived, breathed, and worked in and around OWL) did not have to wake up to the apocalyptic news that the League we loved for six years was no more. Instead, we could see him slowly walking away from us, like a beloved pet being put to sleep. The slow, inexorable and inevitable news began at the beginning of the year when it was announced that the Chengdu Hunters I would not participate in this year’s season.
Since then, every two updates… of layoffs in OWL teams to the postponement and eventual waiver of payment of the franchise fee to the most recent news that the fate of the League would be put to a vote—seemed to foreshadow the inevitable. I am extremely grateful to have had a year to prepare my heart for this eventuality rather than the much worse scenario of discovering that the League in which I established my career as a journalist had dissolved overnight.
Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images for Blizzard Entertainment
An end like this was inevitable. That is the fate of most things supported by absurd valuations and the interest of venture capitalists to extract ever-increasing profits. Costs between 20 and 30 million dollars for one of the 20 franchise spaces. Investment companies hoped to recoup that money through ticket and other sales as the League left its Los Angeles base and dispersed to play live events outside each team’s home market.
The Covid-19 pandemic ensured that model and, therefore, that money never materialized. It also didn’t help when Activision Blizzard was rocked by lawsuits over the company’s alleged permissiveness toward a culture of sexual harassment and discrimination. As a result of that coverage, OWL’s biggest sponsors, from Toyota to Coca-Cola, pulled their advertising dollars, leaving ad revenue to come from places like TeamSpeak, Cheez-Its, and, for one shining moment, Butterfinger.
The waning interest in Supervision He also didn’t do the League any favors. While supervision 2 was in production, support for Supervision main languished. After a steady pace of releasing two and three heroes a year after its release in 2016, when Echo launched in 2020, the game went two full years without a new hero. Add to that the mostly unsatisfactory rebranding of Supervision as a free game with a battle pass and the unfortunate abandonment of OW2‘s Hero Mode: the game mode that was supposed to justify the “2” in supervision 2 – and the game itself struggles to keep players’ attention, let alone draw more and more eyes to its adjacent sport.
“Goodbye to all Dragons.”
He Supervision League is dead, a victim of the esports bubble, internal development and corporate upheaval, and the devastation of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.
And yet, as Dr. Angela “Mercy” Ziegler said, “heroes never die.”
While Blizzard’s statement confirms that the League is over, it also reaffirms that the competition Supervision does not go anywhere. Blizzard hasn’t confirmed what its future plans are yet, but there are rumors that will touch the ESL FACEIT, third-party organizer of Saudi-owned tournament to lead a new League. In fact, OverActive Media also shared a statement within its announcement that seemed to suggest that it also plans to participate in whatever form the League takes in the future.
“Our commitment to our teams and esports is stronger than ever and we believe this move is a crucial step in ensuring their continued success,” said Adam Adamou, co-founder and interim CEO of OverActive Media. “We are eager to share more about our vision for Toronto Defiant and our plans to return to Overwatch esports.”
Other teams have joined in the “goodbye” and “thanks” and some also reaffirmed that this is not a “goodbye forever” but a “see you later.”
“Thank you for the memories we will cherish forever,” reads a post from the Boston Uprising, the first team to go a perfect 10-0. “Until next time.”
The team I chose, the Shanghai Dragons, the only team that has ever fielded a female player and for which I got a tattoo to celebrate their 2021 championship, aware, “The flowers bloom brightly, but when you arrived, it wasn’t spring. Goodbye to all the Dragons.”
But it’s Florida Mayhem tanker Seung-hun “Checkmate” Baek who conveyed the best sentiment that I think most fans and players will resonate with here in the end.
“We will always be here, ready to play more games,” he said during the press conference after his team won the 2023 championship, the League’s last. “We’re just waiting for you guys to call.”