In a significant move for the Overwatch League, the Toronto Defiant's parent company, OverActive Media, has reached an agreement with the league to waive all outstanding franchise fees, totaling over $8 million.
The deal includes a sponsorship agreement between the Defiant and the OWL, the elimination of entry fees for the 2023 fiscal year, and discussions about further changes to the league's business plan.
This development comes as Activision's franchise leagues, including the OWL, have faced financial challenges, with teams struggling to meet their payment obligations.
The agreement with the Toronto Defiant sets a precedent for other organizations in the Overwatch League and potentially the Call of Duty League to enter similar discussions and seek relief from their financial burdens. As the pandemic and global recession have impacted the esports industry, teams have faced difficulties in meeting the high buy-in figures associated with franchise leagues. With this deal, more organizations may follow suit, potentially leading to a series of costly agreements, although increased income from YouTube broadcast rights deals could offset some of the financial strain.