Overwatch League Commissioner Nate Nanzer has announced that he is leaving his position at Blizzard Entertainment to take on a new role at Epic Games. The announcement was made in the lead up to Memorial Day weekend in the midst of downtime between Stage 2 and Stage 3 of the Esports league focused on Blizzard's first-person shooter Overwatch.
"Hey Overwatch League family," began a tweet chain from Nate Nanzer. "I wanted to share that soon I will be leaving Blizzard for a new opportunity. This has been the toughest decision of my life, because it means I won’t get to work with the best staff, players, teams, owners, partners, and fans in esports anymore."
Former Overwatch League Commissioner Nate Nanzer will be replaced by former Fox Sports Executive Vice President Pete Vlastelica as reported by ESPN. Mr. Vlastelica has taken on the role as the head of all Esports properties under Activision Blizzard as the company has been restructuring how they're handling that area of the company. A Call of Duty league is expected to launch sometime in 2020 with a number of franchised teams in a setup that will hopefully repeat the success of the Overwatch League.
"As President & CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues, I am stepping in as Overwatch League commissioner, effective immediately," Mr. Vlastelica said in a statement. "We have the best team in the business working incredibly hard to realize the vision we set out to create years ago, and I'll be working very closely with our staff, the teams and partners to do just that."
Nate Nanzer was one of the people who were instrumental in getting the Overwatch League off of the ground. Following a successful pitch to Jeff Kaplan on the idea of an Esports League for Overwatch, Mr. Nanzer focused on recruiting people to get on board the first wave of franchises at $20 million a piece. Mr. Nanzer was assisted in his recruiting task by Activision CEO Bobby Kotick and other unnamed executives.
Nate Nanzer presented the Season 1 trophy personally to the winners of the inaugural season of the Overwatch League.
While the Overwatch League will carry on, Mr. Nanzer's move to Epic Games may indicate that they are looking to solidify their own Esports offerings. Considering the continuing success of Fortnite and their recent purchase of Rocket League developer Psyonix, it seems like the world of Esports may be gearing up for some intense competition.
What do you think of Overwatch League Commissioner Nate Nanzer leaving Blizzard Entertainment for Epic Games? Do you think Epic will be able to have a strong showing in the world of Esports? Let us know in the comments below!