Do esports teams need to be tied to a city? That’s something that I’ve been wondering about with every video game competition announced. Esports organizations such as Cloud9 or Team SoloMid are usually amorphous groups. These collection of players have no home base or affiliation with a region in the same sense as New York Yankees or Chicago Bulls.
It’s a reflection of the decentralized structure of the internet. When playing online casually, distances and borders don’t matter because players get together in the virtual space. That’s how competitors of different nationalities and regions can fall under a team’s umbrella. The sprawling nature makes a team’s appeal cross borders, but at the same time, an element is lost when geography doesn’t play a role.
Location is a major factor when it comes to fandoms in other sports. Teams rally a community. Residents wear team gear on game days. Restaurants, bars and neighborhoods proudly tout their allegiances. That’s why the Overwatch League’s move to bring its teams to their local markets is so big. It gives fans a local bond with that team and makes them more accessible.
In the Bay Area, team co-owner Andy Miller is bringing his San Francisco Shock squad to the region in 2020. Starting in January, the team will live in the region, and the Shock will host two festivals as part of the Overwatch League. These events include a series of matchups that will count toward the Shock’s run in 2020. Currently, the team is in the losers bracket of the 2019 Overwatch League Playoffs. They rebounded from a gut-punch loss to the Atlanta Reign and beat the London Spitfire on Sept. 7. On Sept. 12, they face the Los Angeles Gladiators for a chance to advance in the tournament.
“So many people play games,” Miller said. “They love it. Younger kid play ‘Fortnite.’ Games are a part of us now. It’s a massive part of free time. Now you can have a chance to see it live.”
The San Francisco Shock play the London Spitfire in the Overwatch League playoffs. (Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment) The Shock will hold two events in the Bay Area. The March 28-29 gathering in the Cow Palace is called First Arrival and features two doubleheaders. On Saturday, the Vancouver Titans will take on the Dallas Fuel while the Shock will battle the Los Angeles Gladiators. The Sunday matchup has the …
Source:: East Bay – Entertainment