Epic isn’t just snatching games for its store — it’s also pilfering people.
Nate Nanzer, the commissioner and co-founder of the Overwatch League, will be departing Activision Blizzard for a role with Epic Games, to work on developing the competitive side of Fortnite. Nanzer broke the news yesterday via Twitter:
Hey Overwatch League family. 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. 1/4
— Nate Nanzer (@natenanzer) May 25, 2019
He will be replaced as Overwatch League commissioner by Pete Vlastelica, a former Fox Sports executive vice president who currently oversees all of Activision Blizzard’s esports products.
In just a few years, Nanzer helped launch an esports league with teams based around cities in North America, Asia, and Europe, an unusual proposition for esports, and one that will be mimicked by Activision’s Call of Duty league when it launches in 2020. Given the apparent success of the Overwatch League, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him do something similar for Fortnite — though OWL’s success may be inflated to some degree, as this article lays out in great detail.
In any case, some of the numbers surrounding the OWL, and what it’s brought to Activision Blizzard, are indisputable. Franchise fees in the tens of millions of dollars and a $90 million deal with Twitch for broadcast rights are just a few we know about. Sponsors such as T-Mobile, Toyota, and Coca-Cola are likely also shelling out significant sums. Epic will hope that Nanzer can bring in that kind of bank for Fortnite, too.