USA Today, the nationwide newspaper had been operating a website dedicated to competitive Overwatch esports events. The Overwatch Wire site was designed to inform people about Overwatch events with a strong emphasis on Overwatch League events. However, USA Today has announced that it will be shutting down its Overwatch Wire site. The move leaves uncertainty as to whether USA Today will be covering the second league season when it comes along in 2019. This is also significant as USA Today remains one of the most prominent publications in the country based on the reach the paper receives.
Many freelance contributors who worked for Overwatch Wire have reported online that the site will be closing down. The site, which had been covering Overwatch League and various esports endeavors surrounding the game as well as the game in general, had been updated consistently as of recent time. But the freelancers are all stating that they are going to be moving into separate paths after the site shuts down.
Although no specific date was given as to when USA Today will drop the site, writer Tatjana Vejnovic stated on her Twitter feed that the site will shut down on November 5. Specifically, she said that on that day she would “be a freelancer.” She is openly asking for opportunities for writing.
The writers for the site were volunteer freelancers for the most part. These include people who share a strong sense of enthusiasm for the game and its growing community.
The site is still online as of Thursday morning. However, the most recent update to the site as of then was on Saturday.
USA Today has not provided information on what caused them to drop its Overwatch Wire site. Readers and others in the esports community have argued that USA Today is unaware of how the group can retain views or how it can monetize its esports content. This comes as the esports industry becomes more popular and active.
The drop leaves one less significant media outlet covering Overwatch esports events. USA Today has grown in value to include nearly a million copies circulated throughout the country every weekday. The circulation increases to around 2.5 million per weekday when the digital format of the paper is considered. The general exposure of USA Today to the public is especially high in value considering how USA Today is often provided to people at hotels and business places around the country. The paper has also become popular for offering a centrist approach to its coverage.
It is uncertain as to what USA Today will be doing with its Overwatch coverage or with its esports coverage in general. The paper has not mentioned anything surrounding the 2019 league other than what the Overwatch Wire website says will be coming to the league in the next season. The decision to drop the website may still lead to a significant shift in what USA Today wants to do with its general coverage of Overwatch and other esports events even as the field continues to grow in popularity.