The logo for Blizzard’s esports initiative, the Overwatch League, seems like a pretty good fit. It features Tracer, the character from the game’s boxart, mid-dash and the contrast of its black, white and orange help the logo to stand out well in the increasingly crowded esports space.
Unfortunately though, the well-designed logo may soon need to be changed if Major League Baseball (MLB) gets its way as the organization argues that the Overwatch League logo is too similar to its own. Both logos features white silhouettes, facing the same way, with contrasting color schemes and rectangular shapes and the MLB feels that this is close enough to warrant action.
From the time that Blizzard’s filing for Overwatch League logo was published on March 28, MLB had 30 days to oppose the filing and it did, with just one day to spare. After it was agreed that the opposition should go ahead, MLB was granted an additional 90 days in which it could “confer with counsel” and investigate similarities between Blizzard’s branding and its own. The deadline for this is July 26 and so time is quickly running out for the MLB to take action.
It should be noted that if the MLB does file before time is up, it’s not necessarily a guarantee that Blizzard will have to change the Overwatch League logo. Changes will depend on whether the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board thinks that consumers could be confused by the two bits of branding.
However, it’s not difficult to see where that confusion might happen as the Overwatch League has regional teams, just like the MLB, and the term ‘esports’ may lead people to think that a real-world sports organization has just made the jump to professional video gaming.
Any change could be bad news for Blizzard. While more and more people are getting used to the phrase ‘Overwatch League’ even without the logo, some of the initiative’s most powerful promotional materials are attached to the design. For example, the Overwatch League reveal trailer, which features a cameo from tennis superstar Serena Williams, includes the current logo and that video will have to be removed, edited and then reuploaded (or scrapped altogether) following the ruling.
There’s also the fact that this is yet another bump in the road for Blizzard as it aims to launch the Overwatch League later this year. The esports program was previously dogged with claims that buying into the league cost $20 million, a price which could turn potential investors and team sponsors away. The suggestion that Blizzard hasn’t done its due diligence in researching and creating a logo won’t inspire confidence either and if investors opt to stay away, then the ramifications could be devastating.
Overwatch is available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
Source: Morrison & Lee