Overwatch League Commissioner Leaves for Epic Games
Overwatch League Commissioner Nate Nanzer is leaving the competitive video game circuit to supervise esports rivalry for Fortnite publisher Epic Games.
Nanzer tweeted he will proceed onward from Activision Blizzard, the organization behind the Overwatch game and league, for “new opportunity.” He didn’t give further details or a firm timeline except to state he’ll be leaving “soon.” Epic Games disclosed to ESPN they had agreed to hire Nanzer, who will endeavor to turn the world’s most popular video game into a sustainable esport.
Activision Blizzard says Nanzer will be replaced by Pete Vlastelica, President and CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues.
Nanzer was integral in propelling the Overwatch League, a global endeavor with franchises in 20 urban areas crosswise over Asia, North America and Europe that compete in the 6 versus 6 first-individual PC game. Nanzer was working in Blizzard’s marketing department when he incubated the thought for the league, and he has been its only commissioner.
The Overwatch League’s first season was a smashing achievement. It filled Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for a two-night title in July, becoming the first live esport broadcast in prime time on ESPN and winning the Esports Live Event of the Year at the Esports Awards in November. The league’s initial investors included professional sports proprietors like the New England Patriots’ Robert Kraft, New York Mets’ Jeff Wilpon and Los Angeles Rams’ Stan Kroenke, and the league had unprecedented achievement destroying in non-endemic sponsorships to the burgeoning industry.
The league is set to satisfy Nanzer’s ultimate vision by propelling a global home-and-away format next season. Most of its regular season matches so far have been held in Southern California.
Nanzer tweeted that he “can’t emphasize enough how proud I am of what we’ve all accomplished together.”
Presently it appears he’ll direct his concentration toward Fortnite, a cultural sensation that has attempted to convert its popularity into a competitive format. Among the challenges: the fight royale’s 100-player, last-man-standing format has been hard to broadcast, particularly as competitors have taken conservative — and consequently less entertaining — approaches to competition.
Vlastelica, formerly of Fox Sports, said in an announcement he would be “stepping in as Overwatch League commissioner, effective immediately.
“We have the best team in the business working incredibly hard to realize the vision we set out to create years ago,” he added, “And I’ll be working very closely with our staff, the teams and partners to do just that.”