Overwatch League teams allegedly must pay their own way in 2022

Olivia Richman • July 11, 2022 6:21 am

The Overwatch League may be one of the biggest competitions in esports, but the participating teams will apparently have to pay their own way to any live LAN tournaments they attend this year.

Midseason Madness is the next Overwatch League event and it’s already riddled with controversy. Not only will teams have to pay to travel to Hawaii, but there is a limit on how often participating teams can practice.

Most large esports tournaments will pay for participating teams’ transportation and lodging, including major events in Valorant, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, and even smaller esports like Apex Legends. The Overwatch League has also paid for teams in the past, but apparently will not do so in 2022.

Overwatch League under fire for handling of Midseason Madness tournament

Los Angeles Valorant’s SVP of team operations Alex Rubens opened up about the controversial situation for the Overwatch League on Twitter. He said that teams must travel to Hawaii for the Midseason Madness tournament on their own dime during the summer months when plane tickets are the most expensive.

A quick search on Google Flights shows that the cheapest flights, are around $300 per person. Keep in mind that there are eight players on Los Angeles Valiant’s active roster, as well as coaches and staff. All of these individuals must also stay in a hotel for the entirety of the trip.

Another peculiar aspect, Rubens added, is that teams cannot practice during travel days. Instead, there are “limited practice slots” that don’t allow for the usual practice time at other international events. Players that exceed the allowed practice time will face “disciplinary action.” Meanwhile, Eastern teams will be practicing and competing from their own facilities, according to Rubens.

“Missing scrim blocks, flying across the ocean (we have the shortest flight at 5.5-6hrs), no practice on travel days no matter when you land, limited practice blocks during the event, threats of punishment for preparing too much vs ‘waking up early,'” Rubens tweeted.

Many in the Overwatch community were shocked by the insight, calling Activision Blizzard’s management of Overwatch League and Midseason Madness “horrific.” The Overwatch League staff has yet to respond to the accusations and resulting frustrations.

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