Esports News UK editor Dom Sacco shares his views on a rumour, following this morning’s news that Cloud9 have purchased the London slot in the Overwatch League.
It was of course a huge surprise to see Cloud9 taking the London slot right under Fnatic’s nose.
Fnatic are technically based in London – their newly launched Shoreditch HQ/Bunkr is an impressive space and they would be the ideal candidates for Blizzard’s new franchise league.
But Blizzard are a contrary bunch and they like to do things their own way. Their boss Bobby Kotick also seems to be chummy with his new franchise partners – C9 owner Jack Etienne and Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke – as seen in this photo from Blizzcon 2016.
But can Cloud9’s roster crack the Overwatch League and represent London effectively?
We heard a rumour today suggesting C9 are on the lookout for a new roster or mix of players – and they may be considering buying out an EU organisation entirely to get closer to London, in time for the Overwatch League.
Cloud9 want to extend their reach and become a truly global org. They still have some contracted players, mostly North Americans, and while it has potential – it’s an incomplete roster they may be looking to sell.
We’ve heard that they’re already in talks with a number of affordable EU organisations on the rise right now. So who could they go for?
Well, there’s eUnited. They won the Contenders tournament recently, putting them in the limelight in the EU.
And they also have two UK good players in Kruise and Boombox, who know the industry and set up in the UK, and would provide that homegrown angle potentially for C9. But the org have US aspirations.
“We’ve heard that they’re already in talks with a number of affordable EU organisations on the rise right now. So who could they go for?”
Then there’s 123, runners up for Contenders – but worth remembering their bracket was arguably an easier run-in than the others. Mistakes played well with Tracer in Contenders, but the team overall still lack major LAN experience and a name for themselves.
The other org that really springs to mind is Laser Kittenz. Set up by Ali Saba, the former Misfits manager, earlier this year, they have big aims – and have said they want to compete in the Overwatch League.
They also have a UK player in Kyb.
Their challenge, of course, is getting the investment required to put them in the franchise league, but they have the ambition.
Ali Saba also has real experience within UK esports and know how things tick over here. He led the Renegades Banditos to victory in the UK scene last year, flying a Challenger Series team into the UK to play at Insomnia.
The Banditos won the ESL Prem, were soon renamed to Misfits, made it to the Challenger Series – and the LCS – in one fell swoop.
Whoever Cloud9 go for – IF they decide to go for anyone – could be crucial as they look to represent London.
Of course, the Kroenkes will also be looking to form a roster, but they’re based in Los Angeles and may not be looking to EU for talent.
The other interesting point to realise is, there are two Los Angeles spots in the Overwatch League. Could there be two for London? Fnatic’s founder’s tweets suggest it may not be them, but who knows, the door could be open.
— Cloud9 (@Cloud9) August 10, 2017
Note: We reached out to Cloud9 on this news/rumour and will update this article if we hear back from them
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
A keen League player and WoW RPer, he has written for a range of publications including Games TM, Nintendo Official Magazine, games industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games. He currently works as full-time content director for the British Esports Association.