Esports has garnered attention from the mainstream as of late, and in most recent news, the Overwatch League has taken the majority of the spotlight. Stop-motion animated comedy sketch series put esports in its sights for the first time in the form of an OWL-focused segment, and on Monday, October 7, San Francisco Shock stars Jay "sinatraa" Won and Matthew "Super" DeLisi joined Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show following Shock's first Overwatch League championship.
Sinatraa announced the upcoming apperance on twitter, which airs just over a week after Shock crowned itself as the 2019 OWL champion. On September 29, Shock defeated Vancouver Titans in the 2019 Grand Finals at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA in a dominant 4-0 sweep.
A few days prior to the Shock stars' appearance on Fallon, a new episode of Robot Chicken featured a parody of the Overwatch League that touched on the OWL broadcast, esports growth, and gamer stereotypes. Robot Chicken is a top-motion animated comedy show that often parodies other forms of media, especially those geared towards alternative culture. The show, created by Seth Green, is currently in its 10th season.
In typical Robot Chicken fashion, the show did not pull any punches, both poking fun at gamer culture while debunking fitness-based gamer stereotypes, and of course, humorously exaggerating some of the more private aspects of Overwatch League community fandom.
The Future is Now
Super and sinatraa's appearance on The Tonight Show and a 100 second claymation-style sketch doesn't mean esports are now going to rival the Super Bowl in North American viewership, but mainstream nods like the aforementioned are crucial steps in esports' assimilation into Western culture. OWL also took more serious steps in the same direction in its broadcasting efforts for the 2019 season, broadcasting games on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, DisneyXD, CBS, in addition to livestreaming.
Members of the Overwatch League community at all levels, including professional players, have chimed in on twitter, rejoicing over the mainstream recognition due to the possible opportunities for growth they create. Esports consultant Rod "Slasher" Breslau tweeted the Robot Chicken clip out, quoting a line said facetiously in the sketch that reads far more sincerely when removed from its original context, "esports are the future, and the future is now."