Esports Arena: Blizzard Cancels 'Overwatch' Event Amid China Controversy

Overwatch-Publicity-H 2019
Courtesy of Blizzard

Elsewhere in competitive gaming: Comcast Spectacor and SK Telecom have launched a new company and 'Call of Duty' League's London squad sets its name and roster.

Esports Arena is a curated weekly roundup of the biggest stories in the world of online competitive gaming.

Blizzard Entertainment, currently embroiled in controversy surrounding its response to one of its esports athletes making pro-Hong Kong statements during an official live stream, has cancelled a live event originally set to take place Wednesday at the Nintendo store in New York City. The event was to celebrate the launch of the studio's Overwatch game launching on Nintendo's Switch console. 

The official Nintendo New York Twitter account made the announcement on Monday, saying “Please be aware that the previously announced Overwatch launch event scheduled for Wednesday 10/16 at NintendoNYC has been cancelled by Blizzard. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”

The event was scheduled as a 90-minute meet-and-greet with voice actors from the popular team-based shooter. One hundred-fifty fans had signed up in the week prior.

Blizzard recently stirred up controversy by placing a ban on Hearthstone player Ng Wai “Blitzchung” Chung for comments made in support of Hong Kong's pro-democracy protestors. The company was met with threats of boycott in the wake of the announcement.

A request for comment from Blizzard on the recent cancellation was not immediately returned.

Elsewhere, Comcast Spectacor and SK Telecom have launched a new company, T1 Entertainment, as the result of their previously announced global esports venture, which was revealed in February. Joe Marsh, former chief business officer of the Overwatch League's Philadelphia Fusion, has been named CEO of T1, with  Akshon Media founder John Kim serving as COO. The company’s portfolio already includes teams in Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Fortnite, Dota 2 and the successful SK Telecom T1 team in League of Legends

Here’s what else is happening in the world of esports.

League of Legends Star Player Becomes Part Owner of Team SoloMid

Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, longtime star for the Team SoloMid League of Legends team, has ended his free agency by re-signing with the organization for two more years. As part of the new deal, he has acquired part ownership in TSM. Bjergsen cited his relationship with the team in his decision to return, as well as the brand-new training facility currently being built in Los Angeles. TSM founder and CEO Andy “Reginald” Dinh told Dot Esports that Bjergsen “exemplifies the brand and values” of the team and that “he’s a big part of what TSM means today.”

London's Call of Duty League Team Sets Name, Roster

ReKTGlobal has announced that the London franchise in the new Call of Duty League has set its name: Royal Ravens. The name comes from the legend of the Tower Ravens, which says that if the six ravens ever leave the Tower of London, the country will fall. The newly named Royal Ravens will be manned by Rhys “Rated” Price, Dylan “Dylan” Henderson, Matthew “Skrapz” Marshall, Jordan “Jurd” Crowley and Bradley “wuskin” Marshall when the Call of Duty League begins in early 2020.

Team Hong Kong to Attend Overwatch World Cup at BlizzCon

Amid the political controversy surrounding Blizzard and its relationship with China, Team Hong Kong of the Overwatch World Cup has announced it will be attending the annual competition at BlizzCon in early November. The team made the announcement on its official website, saying, “After deep discussions with our players, we believe that the chance to represent Hong Kong spirit and values on the global stage is too valuable to give up.“ Team Hong Kong will join nine other squads from around the world when the Overwatch World Cup begins Nov. 1.