On August 24th & 25th, the LA Valiant and Kit Kat hosted the Kit Kat Rivalry weekend at the Novo in Los Angeles. This was a two-day event jam-packed with events, giveaways, and plenty of Overwatch. I was there to cover the event for Geek Girl Authority, and I can absolutely promise you that the momentum behind the Overwatch League is not slowing down.

The Event

Earlier this year, Kit Kat became the official candy of the LA Valiant. Thus, it only made sense that a sponsored weekend would soon occur. The Kit Kat Rivalry weekend featured the Atlanta Reign, Boston Uprising, Dallas Fuel, Hangzhou Spark, LA Gladiators,  LA Valiant, New York Excelsior, San Francisco Shock, Shanghai Dragons, and the Vancouver Titans finishing up crucial matches before the Overwatch League Playoffs begin! 
During the event, Kit Kat debuted a brand new flavor of Kit Kat that will be hitting stores this Winter: Kit Kat Duos – Chocolate and Mint. And to celebrate these Duos, Kit Kat offered a photo op, swag, AND a dunk tank. A fan from each competing team would volunteer to sit on the tank. Depending on which team lost, that fan was immediately dunked. Even though they may have gotten soaked, both participants won free Kit Kats for LIFE (which is a pretty good deal, if I say so myself)! 

Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Another sponsor of the weekend was Bud Light. Fans could enjoy watching the matches on the ground floor, in their seats, or on the screens of the Bud Light Lounge. Meals named after various players and VIP snack booths also occupied the lounge as well. There was also a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Hospitality Zone.  For a donation of any amount, fans could relax and recharge their devices near the gameplay. And 100% of the donations went to the Research Hospital. Likewise, the brand new line of Overwatch League trading cards was also highlighted at the event. Fans could even have their photo taken and printed on their own trading card. It’s exciting seeing the Upper Deck creating cards for the League. As silly it sounds, having formal trading cards just makes the Overwatch League (and Esports) feel that much more official. 

Overall, Kit Kat, the LA Valiant, and the other Overwatch League sponsors put a lot of money and care into this event, and it really shows. These kinds of events, especially before the Playoffs, are amazing weekends for old and new fans alike. They create enthusiasm and energy around the League. I cannot wait to see what other sponsors join the Overwatch League. Likewise, I expect the next sponsored rivalry weekend to be just as exciting and entertaining!

Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

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The Matches

Kicking off the Kit Kat Rivalry on Saturday was the Atlanta Reign vs. Dallas Fuel. While Atlanta has proven to be a tough competitor this Season, Dallas still gave them a good run. However, Atlanta ended up winning the Match 3:1. Next, the Boston Uprising went against the New York Excelsior, with the Excelsior wrapping the Match quickly with a similar 3:1 win. Then, two teams currently headed to the playoffs, the San Francisco Shock and Vancouver Titans, battled it out back and forth. Ultimately, in overtime, the Shock pulled a 3-2 lead. And finally, ending Saturday night was the battle for Los Angeles: LA Gladiators vs. LA Valiant. This was an intense home city match that started with a Round 1 win for the LA Valiant. However, that first win was not enough to stop the Gladiators. They went on to conquer the next three rounds and secured the Match win, only giving the LA Valiant one more chance to place in the Play-In Tournament.

Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Sunday started with a 4-0 knockout Match between the Hangzhou Spark and the Shanghai Dragons. Similarly, the Atlanta Reign held a 4-0 Match against the Boston Uprising. Then, in a  surprising turn of events, the New York Excelsior went head to head with the Vancouver Titans and ended up securing the Match win. And closing out this impressive day of gaming was another 4-0 shutdown, this time by the San Francisco Shock against the LA Valiant. Sadly, this loss for the LA Valiant knocked them out of securing a spot in the Play-In Tournament. 


The Playoffs and Beyond

With the conclusion of the matches from the Kit Kat Rivalry, it appears that the six teams headed to the 2019 Playoffs are the Vancouver Titans, New York Excelsior, San Francisco Shock, Hangzhou Spark, Los Angeles Gladiators, and Atlanta Reign. Likewise, the Play-In Teams consist of the London Spitfire, Seoul Dynasty, Guangzhou Charge, Philadelphia Fusion, Shanghai Dragons and Chengdu Hunters. Now we’ll just have to wait and see which team will make it to the Top! 
In addition, it was announced that for 2020, the Novo would be the new home of the LA Valiant. I mentioned this a bit in my coverage of the 2018 California Cup, but I believe we will see more and more teams playing in home-venues. While the Overwatch League continues to grow, it only makes sense that the home-town venues would grow with it. While watching the Overwatch League Twitch channel, or catching a game at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank can be a fun afternoon or evening, there’s nothing like watching a Match live. And what better way to excite fans (and encourage new ones) than by bringing the games LIVE to the home towns they’re based in? 

Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment


If you’ve ever been curious about Overwatch, or the Overwatch League, now is a great time to become a fan! With Overwatch coming to the Nintendo Switch, and the Playoffs just around the corner, I highly recommend watching some matches online, or trying the game yourself! We live in a very exciting time in the world of Esports. And the Overwatch League is going to keep growing and growing. I cannot wait to see what 2020 brings, and am excited to cheer on the LA Gladiators into the upcoming Playoffs!
Emily Rose Jacobson
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