Update [Thu 9th Nov, 2023 02:00 GMT]:
A Blizzard rep has now told Engadget it's "transitioning from the Overwatch League" and evolving "competitive Overwatch in a new direction".
"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 you all in the near future."
Original [Mon 6th Nov, 2023 11:45 GMT]:
In case you missed it, Activision Blizzard's professional Overwatch League is seemingly on its last legs, and according to a new report by investigative journalist Jacob Wolf, it's believed the league is likely to be dissolved.
The catch is that the 20 teams within the Overwatch League must vote to either keep the league going afloat or call time, and at the moment it's expected to be folded. If this happens, all franchises must receive a compensation payment of $6 million, so that's $120 million in total.
Now that the Activision Blizzard deal has gone through, this means it's essentially coming straight out of Microsoft's pocket. The OWL franchises reportedly paid $7.5 million to join the competition, and there have been other operating costs included since the league was founded in 2017/18.
Activision Blizzard will reportedly be getting 'ESL FACEIT Group' to take over the 2024 season, which already handles esports competitions for games like League of Legends and Counter-Strike.
"Plans for the new-look Overwatch League are still up in the air, but it’s likely that it will be an open-circuit system similar to what existed prior to the formation of the franchise league in 2018."
This news follows Overwatch 2's announcement at BlizzCon 2023 - revealing a brand new hero, map and game mode launching on 5th December. At this same event, Blizzard also touched on the esports side of Overwatch, including the Overwatch World Cup.