SF Shock CEO Andy Miller Responds to OWL Criticism Blowback
SF Shock CEO Andy Miller came under fire from Overwatch League fans due to a podcast that he was on where he said he would not repeat buying an Overwatch team with Call of Duty League on the horizon.
Andy Miller Restates His Support for OWL
After Miller’s comments went viral, many Overwatch League fans have been questioning why the CEO of the SF Shock would be out making negative comments about the league and generally reinforcing the thought that the league was a poor investment.
Miller was quick to defend his comments, and instead stated that his comments were a form of tough love for the league and its executives.
“Quick late-night response to articles picking pieces of my podcast with out to paint me as down on Overwatch League,” Miller said. “I’m pretty confident to say that Shock and OWL fans have known me from day 1 as the most involved owner, at all the events, sitting with the fans. Doing the press, hyping the league. I am a real one when it comes to the game. I love it. I am also an outspoken owner because I want the game and league to thrive and have given an incredible amount of time to leading owner committees and calls and providing feedback on business model, player health, schedule, packaging etc and making sure the player/coaches/tier 2 community and of course the fans voice is heard. If that makes me the bad guy, the squeeky wheel, so be it. I’m gonna keep on squeaking!”
The league needs to have owners who are outspoken on what the league’s doing, good or bad. This public pressure on the league’s executive team will keep them on their toes and keep them innovating. Having an involved owner like Miller is far better than having a passive one, such as in the case of the Houston Outlaws’ Beasley Media Group, as it shows fans and the league itself that they care about the growth of the league.
Buyer’s Remorse for Overwatch League?
Many in the esports community have questioned whether owners of the Overawtch League teams are happy this year, particularly with how the league has transitioned into dealing with the coronavirus situation.
The most notable of these came from Nadeshot and Courage as they were playing Warzone, and they both questioned what these owners must be feeling right now. This clip went viral and eventually became a question for Miller in a podcast focusing on whether or not he felt like he would again buy a slot in the Overwatch League knowing what he knows now.
Of course, Miller said that he likely wouldn’t have also owned the Chicago Huntsman in the Call of Duty League and the SF Shock. This is mainly due to the expense of upkeep on both of the organizations, including player salaries, staff, marketing both teams, and the steep franchise fees to Activision Blizzard in two titles ($20 million and $25 million for the OWL and CDL respectively).
The Overwatch League has struggled mightily this year with the shift to what was supposed to be purely homestand events but has largely not been able to due to the coronavirus. Instead, they’ve shifted to an online format. It struggled to get viewership due to their shift away from Twitch to YouTube Gaming. There have been promising signs of growth and change from the league, however, even despite all of that. The league has shown a genuine want to change and grow with the audience. They have now switched to a pure tournament format for the regular season and playoffs, which was just revealed.
This change to a tournament format seems to have reinvigorated the Overwatch fandom and has inspired them to tune in. A viewership of over 55,000 was recorded recently for OWL, quite the jump from an event that was not even drawing 30,000 a few months ago on YouTube. Of course, it still has a long way to go to get back to its heights of over 200,000 on Twitch for the Season 2 Grand Finals, but still progress.