Overwatch League franchise London Spitfire have announced today a dedicated partnership with UK-based esports agency Code Red Esports.
The collaboration will see Code Red spearhead the franchise’s operations in the UK, including a physical space in London.
There will be local Spitfire events here in the UK - everything from viewing parties to official Overwatch amateur events. Spitfire will have their own home arena where they will play future Overwatch League matches.
Plans include housing and practice areas for the team’s players, plus, a venue, retail outlet and fan zones, which Code Red is helping the team work on developing for 2018.
Code Red will generally help engage fans and build the Spitfire brand during the first season of the Overwatch League. The agency will be responsible for building local partnerships with a range of brands and institutions, particularly relating to the set-up of the team’s local base.
The news comes following some criticism of London Spitfire from pockets of the UK esports community. Some have said that the team lacks UK-specific involvement, including a place to watch matches, and UK players and staff.
"We are determined that London Spitfire becomes a team British Overwatch fans can be proud of."
Dan Fiden, London Spitfire
Some say the 'London' in London Spitfire has been added for marketing reasons, while others have bemoaned the lack of a UK or European merch store to purchase Spitfire gear. Overwatch developer Blizzard Entertainment currently has a US merch store, which charges additional tax/customs fees to those living in the UK and Europe. Ollie Ring's article on Esports Insider summarises some of these concerns in more detail.
However, Code Red's announcement this evening does a lot to address these concerns.
"We’re thrilled to be helping to develop the brand new London Spitfire franchise and are excited by what the team and the project can do for UK esports," said Code Red Esports MD and well-known British esports host Paul "ReDeYe" Chaloner.
“From a performance perspective, the team are already primed to do great things in the league with a phenomenal squad of players, but that is only one part of the picture and Code Red will focus on bringing esports and Overwatch to London and the rest of Britain. We can’t wait to share some of the exciting plans we have for UK esports players and fans.”
Dan Fiden, president of London Spitfire and owner of Cloud9 Esports, commented: “We could not have found a better partner for our London franchise than the passionate and committed Code Red team.
"We are determined that London Spitfire becomes a team British Overwatch fans can be proud of. It was imperative for us to partner with an agency with an unparalleled understanding of and history within the British esports community."
London Spitfire lost a pre-season match 3-2 to the Los Angeles Gladiators in the early hours of this morning.
Huge favourites for the match, loses the first map. Who says @Spitfire aren't British?
— Redeye (@PaulChaloner) December 7, 2017
London fans might complain about their roster being all Korean, but at least they are playing like native UK pros.
— MonteCristo (@MonteCristo) December 7, 2017
Cloud9 secured the London Overwatch League spot back in August, much to Fnatic's disappointment. Orgs like Cloud9 were required by Blizzard to give their teams names unique to the Overwatch League, like London Spitfire and LA Gladiators.
Elsewhere, Cloud9 have announced a new content manager who will be working closely with Spitfire during the pre-season.
Check Esports News UK soon for some more exclusive comments from Paul Chaloner on London Spitfire's plans