Toronto Defiant CEO says OWL franchises get to keep their branding

Toronto Defiant CEO says OWL franchises get to keep their branding
Image via Toronto Defiant

Written by 

Sascha Heinisch


7th Dec 2023 16:00

Overwatch League franchises are allowed to keep their branding beyond the confines of the league, Adam Adamou, the CEO of Overactive Media shared in an interview with GGRecon.

"We own all our intellectual property with respect to the Overwatch League," Adamou said. After the official end of the franchise league, which ran for six seasons from 2018 onwards, questions arose about the nature of the franchise agreement in terms of its brands and proceedings going forward.

Other franchises had implied a continued use of their OWL branding.

Brands belong to their franchise holders

With the start of the Overwatch League, Activision Blizzard created an ambitious project to create a global league emphasising localisation around wider city-based franchises.

Attracting sports team owners, non-endemic investors, and endemic esports organisations, Blizzard Entertainment required franchises to create new brands for the sake of competing in the system, despite some of the endemic team owners, such as Cloud9 and EnVy Us already having established brands in the esports space at the time of the creation of OWL.

It was speculated that transferring franchise slot ownership with a brand attached to an already existing esports enterprise would pose too much of a challenge. For OWL's sister league, the Call of Duty League, Activision Blizzard reconsidered and allowed teams to pair established esports brands with their respective locations, bringing forth teams like Atlanta FaZe or Texas OpTic.

Blizzard Entertainment did not reply to a request for comment regarding the intellectual property situation in regards to the Houston Outlaws, who publicly positioned to use the Outlaws brand, including its logo for a general entertainment strategy going forward.

OverActive Media likely to stay Toronto Defiant in 2024

In their public statement about its exit from the Overwatch League, OverActive Media shared that the organisation would look forward to participating in the next version of Overwatch esports. Blizzard Entertainment had announced a transition to a new system, of which no official news has been shared so far.

During the interview with GGRecon, Adamou explained that OAM would likely proceed with its Overwatch ventures under its OWL handle. "I’m proud of the Toronto Defiant and we would be most inclined to stay with that name and brand for 2024," the CEO stated.

Adamou also shared that a unification under one global brand for 2025 was a possibility. Other than the Toronto Defiant, the company also fields teams in the CDL as the Toronto Ultra, and in the League of Legends EMEA Championship under the Spanish team name Mad Lions. 

For Overwatch, Adamou shared tentative optimism for the esport going forward. The team retained head coach Cas "Casores" van Andel after the conclusion of the season to plan for 2024 as one of the few organisations to keep Overwatch professionals on its payroll. 

Sascha Heinisch
About the author
Sascha Heinisch
Sascha "Yiska" Heinisch is a Senior Esports Journalist at GGRecon. He's been creating content in esports for over 10 years, starting with Warcraft 3.
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