Overwatch League: How Do You Properly Name Pro eSports Teams?
There’s been a lot of excitement surrounding Blizzard’s announcement of the official professional Overwatch League, which is being run by ex-MLG owners. Since the original announcement, many new details have surfaced.
We know the first line of Overwatch League team owners, the cities their teams will be representing, and, as of last week, we now know what sort of pay model is in place for the League’s players. What’s more, we know that there will be regular broadcasts, and most excitingly, at least one of those broadcasts will have a similar format to Sunday Night Football.
But there’s one thing we don’t know just yet, and it’s quite possibly one of the most important aspects from a marketing standpoint: the actual team names. Now, as it stands right now, we have seven confirmed Overwatch League teams: Boston, NYC, Los Angeles, Miami/Orlando, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Seoul.
With Blizzard’s goal to make their newly formed league closely resemble professional sports leagues like the MLB, NBA, and NFL, we have to wonder what sort of team names we’re actually going to see. The current state of eSports team names leaves much to be desired, with current teams ranging from things like Team Fi5t, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and Space Soldiers to a myriad of two letter acronyms and ____ Gaming.
These types of names don’t look great from a marketing standpoint; I don’t see a large fan base surrounding a name like Ninjas in Pyjamas (it just doesn’t look good on hats) or sk Gaming.
Admittedly, there are some issues with naming Overwatch teams in a similar manner that professional sports teams are named. We probably shouldn’t expect to see something like the NYC Gorillas or Boston Whales; it just doesn’t fit with what Overwatch is. More appropriate would be something similar to the Miami Heat or Houston Rockets, where the name is not necessarily specific to that city but it’s also not something ridiculous and silly which would jeopardize all chances of anyone taking the league seriously.
Simply calling each team by their city name doesn’t work well either, if that’s the plan (which, for the record, I don’t think it is). It’s boring, and from a marketing standpoint, teams would fare better with merchandising if they have a logo and mascot of some kind.
In Overwatch Contenders — Blizzard’s newly formed development league for Overwatch — there are already some ridiculous names. For example, Genji Fidget Spinner, Microwave Pizza, and the Dabmeisters. While these names are mildly amusing, they would be a nightmare for the Overwatch League’s marketing team.
Blizzard is going to have a tough time selling traditional eSports team names, so hopefully, there’s going to be (or already is) some sort of regulation in place.
What sort of team names/structure would you like to see? Sound off in the comments.