Last week’s surprise announcement of a new Overwatch 2 beta coming next month (and currently running for Blizzard employees and Overwatch League pros), is part of Blizzard’s series of announcements over the spring.
Overwatch League play will resume play in a new season in May, which will be the first in-person competition since 2020. Overwatch 2 will be a part of this. Yet, according to a new report from The Washington Post, sponsors may be reluctant to return to back the tournament after having declined sponsorship or paused their campaigns last year in the wake of the Activision Blizzard lawsuits, employee walkouts, and investigations that saw widespread accusations of hostile workplace conditions.
The Washington Post pointed to the fact that the OWL currently has no listed sponsors, but also quotes Overwatch League head Sean Miller, who says that the league is in active negotiations with various sponsors, both prior ones and new potential sponsors who might seek a partnership deal. Some companies that paused sponsorship last year, including Coca-Cola and Kellogg’s have said they are not planning to sponsor again in 2022. Miller asserts that the league is working with teams to plan for various in-person events this coming season, as part of an overall new season after a difficult pandemic period.
With Overwatch 2 separating out its PvP mode to get it into players’ hands sooner, and to begin the competitive season with the new 5v5 competitive play, OWL provides an important showcase. Things may or may not be getting off to a slower start in light of two years paused in-person competitive play and a whole new 5v5 system to get the hang of, but the teams are already able to engage in the new beta.
Miller tells the Post that one of the goals for late in the season is to bring back some of the huge in-person events that even include players from the three continents that the Overwatch League represents.