Nate Nanzer to leave OWL to work on Fortnite esports

Pete Vlastelica to take over as commissioner.

Overwatch's Icon Alexander Lee · 25 May 2019


Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Overwatch League commissioner Nate Nanzer announced his intent to leave Activision Blizzard in order to work with Epic Games last night.

Nanzer has been with the Overwatch League since the beginning. It was his initial pitch to Blizzard executives that led to the formation of a competitive league based on the first-person shooter. Since OWL’s launch in January 2017, Nanzer has been a pivotal figure, both behind the scenes and as one of the most prominent front-facing Blizzard executives.

Aside from occasional snafus such as his missed coin flip in March, Nanzer has smoothly overseen the league’s eight-team expansion last year and helped put together its first localized events—like the well-received Dallas Homestand.

Epic Games released a statement confirming their hiring of Nanzer.

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“We’re excited to welcome Nate to the Epic Games team, where he’ll be working with us on competitive Fortnite,” wrote the Epic team.

In spite of the record-breaking prize pools offered at events such as the Fortnite World Cup Finals, Fortnite has gotten off to a shaky start as an esport. Epic has come under fire for pushing metagame-changing updates only days before competitive events, and popular Fortnite streamers such as Turner “Tfue” Tenney have publicly criticized the game and questioned the value of competitive events. Nanzer will look to use his considerable experience to help Fortnite shake its casual roots.

As for Overwatch, Nanzer appeared confident that the game is in good hands, despite his abrupt exit.

“I can’t wait to see where the team takes the Overwatch League in 2020—and beyond,” he wrote. “And I’ll be cheering right there alongside you, every step of the way.”

Pete Vlastelica, the former Fox Sports executive vice president who all of Activision Blizzard’s esports endeavors, will serve as the new commissioner, according to the Overwatch League.

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