Overwatch League boss leaves for Epic Games

Epic Games on Friday confirmed that it hired the commissioner of the Overwatch League and he will now oversee the company’s esports efforts. ESPN first reported the news yesterday evening.

Nate Nanzer announced late Friday, on Twitter, that he was leaving Activision Blizzard. ESPN confirmed with Epic that Nanzer had joined them. In his tweet, Nanzer called the move “the toughest decision of my life,” and said “it has been the honor of my life” to work with his colleagues in the Overwatch League.

“It’s been awesome to be our public face, but too many overestimate my role in making the league great,” Nanzer wrote. “It isn’t about me, it’s never been. It’s about all of you.”

Blizzard said Friday that Pete Vlastelica, in charge of all esports products at Activision Blizzard, would move into Nanzer’s old role with the Overwatch League.

Nanzer was one of the founders of the Overwatch League, which Blizzard announced in late 2016. Its inaugural season was in 2018. The league set itself apart by developing a league and season schedule of permanent teams, with promotion from and relegation to lower divisions similar to European soccer. The league began with 12 teams (now 20) and team owners bought in for as much as $20 million.

Vlasteica oversaw Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues, which is building out a franchise-based Call of Duty league that is scheduled to begin play in 2020. Team owners there reportedly paid $25 million each for their franchise.

Earlier this year, Epic bought up Psyonix, which established the Rocket League championship series that got going last fall. Epic has since announced two major events in New York this summer for Rocket League and Fortnite.

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