The Overwatch League grand finals are once again headed to the northeastern United States.
According to a report by ESPN’s Rod Breslau, the grand finals of the second Overwatch League season will be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The news reportedly comes as a surprise to both fans and to those within the Overwatch League.
The Overwatch League 2019 Grand Finals will be hosted at the Wells Fargo Center, home to the Philadelphia Flyers and Philadelphia 76ers. The Wells Fargo Center can hold over 20,000 people, making it considerably larger than the Barclays Center in New York City which hosted last season’s grand finals. Though that could indicate the league is feeling more bullish on its ability to draw in fans for the conclusion of the season, the reasons are likely financial and logistical.
Per the report, the OWL was seeking to host the grand finals in North America once again with the league still headquartered in California. The Wells Fargo Center is owned by Comcast Spectacor, which also owns the Flyers, 76ers, and the OWL’s Philadelphia Fusion. This opens the door for a much lower venue cost for the league.
The move to Philadelphia opens up other interesting possibilities for the Overwatch League as well.
Recent months have seen the league begin implementing a local component to its teams, with franchises being required to find home arenas. Most Overwatch League games to date have taken place in the 350-seat Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles.
The Fusion were the first team to lock down a home arena and will have the ability to mobilize local fans through its sister teams. The first OWL “home games” recently took place in Allen, Texas, which hosts the Dallas Fuel. The event was considered a major success after a rocky start with a power outage.
The date for the Overwatch League Grand Finals has not been officially unveiled, though OWL partner T-Mobile leaked September 29 as the date of the finals during a fan giveaway. That date has not yet been confirmed.