VNR: Global elite Overwatch League™ online gaming teams to compete at UH Mānoa

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Marc Arakaki, (808) 228-3215
Content Producer, UH Communications
Posted: May 3, 2021

Link to video and sound (details below):

WHAT: The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa will host teams from the Overwatch League (OWL), one of the fastest growing video game leagues in international esports. OWL is the world’s first city-based esports league with 20 teams from North America, Europe and Asia. The team-based game Overwatch was developed by Blizzard Entertainment. Students from UH Mānoa’s esports teams will get a chance to learn how the league manages its tournaments and actively run different facets of the tournaments throughout the summer.

WHO: Overwatch teams from North America and Asia, and UH Mānoa esports teams.

WHY: The competition in Hawai‘i is an effort to bridge the gap to bring safe and online interregional play from its best teams. Last year, due to COVID-19, OWL teams were rarely able to play head-to-head matches between teams in different regions because of the online latency difference. During the tournament, teams in Asia will be approximately 18-19 hours ahead of Hawai‘i.

WHEN: Four weeks from May–August 2021 (May 6–8, June 10–12, July 15–17 and August 19–21)

WHERE: Teams from North America will compete in-person from UH Mānoa and teams from Asia will compete virtually.

Additional details

  • The matches can be viewed live and on demand from the Overwatch League YouTube channel.

  • The winning team for each of the four tournaments at UH will take home a $100,000 prize.

  • Overwatch is just one of many games propelling the esports industry. A new global esports and live-streaming market report projects global esports revenue will reach $1.08 billion in 2021, up 14.5% from 2020; and $833.6 million of those revenues will come from media rights and sponsorships. The global live streaming audience will also hit more than 728 million in 2021, growing 10% from 2020.

  • The UH Mānoa esports program currently fields teams for Overwatch, League of Legends, Rainbow Six, Super Smash Bros. and VALORANT. Many of these teams have garnered national recognition, including a top 25 ranking for the Overwatch team among 271 North American colleges and universities.

  • One of the main goals of UH Mānoa esports is to connect students with the wider gaming and esports industry. One example is a recent partnership with Cloud9, one of the largest professional esports organizations in North America.

  • Along with playing esports, students involved with UH Mānoa esports gain experience in business management, events planning and web development.

  • UH Mānoa is launching a three-course esports series beginning this fall and students from all majors are invited to apply. Twenty selected students will enroll in a fall 2021 course on esports and society; and two spring 2022 courses on streaming and content creation, and marketing.

  • Corey Smith, director of broadcast technology for the Overwatch League, said "Working with the University of Hawai'i has helped solve one of our biggest challenges as we continue to safely compete in online competition. Playing from Hawaiʻi unlocks online play between our East and West regions, which makes our competition stronger and our matches more exciting for fans globally. We're thrilled to be teaming up with Hawaiʻi and local students to help make it all happen.


VIDEO BROLL: (1 minute, 17 seconds)

0:00-0:36 - UH Mānoa esports team

0:36-1:17 - Overwatch League 2020 grand champions (Video courtesy: Overwatch League)



Kevin Nguyen, UH Mānoa Esports Program Assistant

(15 seconds)

“For these students specifically, I want them to be able to ask questions because this is such a rare opportunity. This is probably the first time this has happened where such a large publisher is coming here directly to the students and wanting the students to get directly involved.”

(11 seconds)

“I think with the Overwatch League coming here, it’s going to set the stage for the wider gaming community and gaming companies to look at Hawai‘i and realize it’s possible to host events here.”


Alexine Niro, mechanical engineering senior and UH Mānoa Esports Overwatch player

(13 seconds)

“I’m most excited about getting to work with professionals in a sense of how to run a large scale event or like a tournament where everyone in the world is watching.”