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Building Overwatch League: How Blizzard Is Making Esports Mainstream

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Overwatch League, assemble.

Esports is on the cusp of a revolution. With people empowered to watch their favorite games played at the highest level through services such as Twitch and YouTube, more people than ever before are turning to viewing competitive gaming as a form of entertainment. For the most part video game tournaments have catered to niche audiences with an interest in a specific game or genre, however, the success of Overwatch among a much broader audience has given developer and publisher Activision Blizzard an opportunity to shine a brighter spotlight on esports with Overwatch League.

Blizzard's ambition is to rival traditional sports when it comes to how Overwatch League is presented, and foster deep connections to teams and players by creating city-based teams. This, along with an ambitious marketing drive, as well as high-profile investment, would give its league the greatest chance at success. Of course, there are numerous challenges to overcome before it can realise this vision, and that's exactly what GameSpot's Building Overwatch League series explores.

Across five episodes, we take an in-depth look at the different pillars holding up the grand ambition, from Blizzard's own faith that esports can be mainstream and the people that are critical to making sure matches are presented in a way that engages all audiences, to the players that compete and the experts that ensure viewers understand what's happening.

Each episode features insight from key people involved in Overwatch League, including its commissioner Nate Nanzer, Overwatch's director Jeff Kaplan, players such as Custa and Bischu, and analysts including Soe and Sideshow. You can find all the episodes below.

Episode 1: Why Competitive Gaming Matters To Everyone

We talk to Blizzard about why esports matter, and how Overwatch League could jumpstart an esports revolution.

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Episode 2: How Blizzard Is Taking On Mainstream Sports

We talk to the people responsible for the Overwatch League broadcast, and find out how they translate such a fast-paced game into stories that people can follow and engage with.

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Episode 3: Why Celebrities Are Spending So Much Money To Be Involved

We talk to the people who invested millions in Blizzard's vision for Overwatch League sight unseen, discussing the potential they see in esports, how they're committed to its growth, and the responsibilities they now have to their players.

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Episode 4: Turning Gamers Into Superstar Athletes

We talk to the players at the heart of the esport, reflecting on the risks they've taken to become pros, how their lifestyles have changed, and whether it was all worth it.

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Episode 5: Creating A New Future For Esports

We look at what Blizzard has achieved in its first season, how the League has changed esports, and ask those most dedicated to it to envision its future.

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