In just a few years, having a hometown Overwatch League team will actually mean you have a hometown team. League commissioner Nate Nanzer announced today that starting in 2020, all OWL teams will actually play in their home cities.
The @overwatchleague is coming home - and away! Starting in 2020, all Overwatch League teams will be playing in their home cities. We’re super excited to see our original vision brought to life. Thanks to all of our fans for your amazing support!March 15, 2019
Now, don't expect these cities to plant massive stadiums in some empty lots between now and then, but do expect to revisit the pants drawer and leave the house to truly catch the game.
OWL's first season and most of the current season take place at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, CA, but the league is inching towards it's 2020 hometown promises already. Blizzard's "homestand weekends" will see the Dallas Fuel, Los Angeles Valiant, and Atlanta Reign play several matches at home later this year. Check the full OWL Season 2 schedule for dates.
It's an ambitious move, but a necessary one for growth in the long term, I'm thinking. When OWL launched and tied teams to cities rather than esports organizations with astonishingly bad names, it was the first time I thought I could get behind a competitive game without being entrenched in playing it myself. The immediate, spirited sense of local camaraderie is a big draw too, and I love the idea of crowds of fans sporting the local team's colors amassing at the doors and bars and food spots near the venue, scanning the streets for any opposition to trash talk or eye conspicuously. I'm desperate to see the (hopefully friendly) competition stake a claim in the local cultures.
Granted, Portland's gonna need to lock down a team before that happens, but I'm happy Blizzard's still committed OWL's grand vision. Maybe someday, like when my dad took me to football games and complained about the coaching, I too can take my disappointing son to OWL games and complain about the meta. Fingers crossed.