Overwatch League Issues Statement on Talent Exodus
With the mass exodus of on-air talent taking place with the Overwatch League, the OWL community has taken to social media to voice their concerns about the current state of the league. Most of the A-List talent that was hired to launch the league and cement its legitimacy as a franchised esport have parted ways with the organization. These departures coupled with the Overwatch League’s silence thus far have led to a growing concern that the league may be in trouble.
Video game event host Malik Forté’s announced departure from the league on Tuesday marks the fifth high-profile member of the on-air talent team to step away from OWL. Forté now joins Auguste “Semmler” Massonnat (caster), Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles (caster), Erik “DoA” Lonnquist (caster), and Chris Puckett (desk host), who have all departed from the league in the last three weeks.
Historically, newly launched esports leagues and events hire prominent casters from that game’s community in order to seek legitimacy from the fan base. The OWL actually bucked this trend by signing popular casters from other esports to help bring legitimacy in the eyes of the broader esports community.
Mykles and Lonnquist were widely regarded as two of the best League of Legends casters in the space, having served as the English broadcast voices for LoL’s top Korean competitions for years. Massonnat and Puckett have storied backgrounds as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive casters who have worked prestigious tournaments such as the ELEAGUE Major in Atlanta and the MLG Major Championship in Columbus.
Today, Jon Spector, senior director of the Overwatch League, expressed his gratitude to the former broadcasters in a statement provided to The Esports Observer and noted that the league will be making announcements on replacement talent soon. Additionally, Spector hinted that the league’s broadcast production will evolve in 2020 to better serve an international audience.
“We’re incredibly thankful for the talented voices that worked to launch the first two seasons of the Overwatch League, and wish all talent not returning nothing but the best. We think we’ve had the best broadcast production in esports in 2018 and 2019, and our goal this season is no different as we evolve our broadcast to meet the needs of fans experiencing live esports in markets all over the world for the first time,” Senior Director of the Overwatch League, Jon Spector told The Esports Observer.
Typically, OWL does not issue statements on internal matters, controversial or otherwise, but Spector wants fans to know that the league is working hard to get things announced so fans can be excited about what’s coming.
“We’re not yet done making announcements of new and returning talent for 2020, and we think our community is going to enjoy hearing from some fresh voices, particularly those with pro-level experience, as well as seeing familiar faces return for this season,” he said.
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