We've made it to the final day of my Overwatch League brand evaluations. After two days, the Houston Outlaws are our top franchise at the moment, its sleek name and colors putting it at the front of the pack. Will any of the final four franchises be good enough to knock the Outlaws off the perch, and is there a team terrible enough to take home the award for the worst brand? Let's dig in.
Before we begin, as usual, here are the criteria each franchise will be graded on in the evaluation:
Team name (out of 20 points) -- It all starts with a good team name. If you fail here, it's almost impossible to make a comeback.
Logo (out of 20) -- With every good team name comes a good logo. A poor team name can sometimes be saved by a strong logo, but that's uncommon.
Promotion (out of 10) -- How is the team doing with its promotional videos and images? Is it drawing in new fans with interesting content before the games begin?
Merchandise (out of 10) -- Do the team uniform and other merchandise (including in-game skins) look good? Would anyone buy the team's merchandise and actually wear it out in public unironically?
The first date test (out of 10) -- You're on a first date with someone you've never hung out with before. During the date, you tell them "I'm a fan of the ..." and watch for their reaction. If telling them the team you support makes you want to die of embarrassment, that's not a good sign.
Team name: In line with other Revolutionary sports teams that Boston houses, the Uprising fits in with the roots of the city. While it might not be everyone's cup of tea, I actually think it's a solid name. New England Patriots, New England Revolution and now the Boston Uprising? Not bad at all. (15 points)
Logo: Simplicity wins out here. Blue and yellow are used throughout the league, so the Uprising won't win any originality awards, but the primary logo is serviceable. You can slap it on merchandise, and no one is going to laugh at you, so that's a big plus on Boston's side. (12 points)
Promotion: I'm pretty sure whoever created the Boston Uprising's intro video was actually submitting a high school homework project they did last minute and got it mixed up with the real intro video the Uprising wanted to show. The Uprising's introduction video was laughable, and the jokes of the "Boston Powerpoints" won't be forgotten anytime soon. The team's social has been pretty good, though, so I'll give the Uprising at least one point to save the franchise from the ultimate embarrassment of a goose egg. (1 point)
Merchandise: Everything across the line is pretty standard. The ocean blue color is the main color for the franchise, and it should do pretty well with fans. The primary logo looks good on a hat, and the simplicity of the team's design gives it a "W" in my book. (7 points)
The first date test: "Uh ... I'm not into rioting." Your date thinks you're a part of some Boston-centric group that enjoys causing havoc and wants to take over the city. You show them the team's intro video to try and make her understand, but it only frightens her even more. She runs out of the restaurant calling for help. (1 point)
Overall score: 36 out of 70
New York Excelsior
Team name: What? No, seriously, what? Why? Just ... why? What? Why? What!? When I first heard that this was going to be New York's team name in the Overwatch League, I called it out as some sort of troll attempt. No, this is really the team's name. It means "Ever upward" and ties in with the state of New York ... but Excelsior? I ... uh ... why!? I can't give it 0 points since "Ever upward" actually is a pretty cool slogan, and it does relate to its city and state, but I can't give it anything more than a few points. (4 points)
Logo: In a plot twist, I actually don't hate the logo. It's different. I've been saying throughout this journey that I appreciate a team that stands out from the pack, and the Excelsior (WHY!?) do just that. Out of all the teams in the league, it's the logo that I'd say has the best chance of breaking into the "mainstream" with people who don't watch esports. I'm sure if you visit Brooklyn in a few months, some kid will be wearing an Excelsior hat without even realizing what he's repping. (17 points)
Promotion: The team's promotion material has been great. New York's introduction video, which was shot in the first-person perspective of someone scaling a building to overlook the city as a voiceover talked about what it means to represent New York, as a whole was really effective. The branding of #NYXL as the team's handle is also pretty sly. New York is trying to make lemonade out of dirt with the name "Excelsior," and I think they're doing a pretty fine job. (9 points)
Merchandise: As I mentioned previously, the logo works well outside of just esports. The hat for the Excelsior is far and away the best of the bunch, and the jersey could be worn as casual outwear without fear of jokes at your expense. To top it all off, the red, white and blue skins are stunning, essentially marketing the Excelsior as "America's Team" right out of the gate. I love everything the Excelsior are doing with merchandise, and I can't believe I'm typing this about a team called the Excelsior. (10 points)
The first date test: Unless your date is Stan Lee, you're not getting a second date. (1 point)
Overall score: 41 out of 70
Team name: I love it. When all 12 franchises are coming in at the same score of 0-0 with an equal amount of accomplishments between them, this is how you show superiority. Even before the Dynasty plays its first match, the rest of the league and viewership know which team is a favorite for the championship. South Korea has won both Overwatch World Cups and has been at the forefront of the game since its inception, and the Dynasty is not backing down from that history. With a name like Dynasty, Seoul doesn't just want to win, it wants to win over and over and over again. It's the perfect name for the "Mecca of esports" and its capital city. (20 points)
Logo: It's pristine. The black, gold and white color scheme fits the name "Dynasty" to a T, and the inclusion of the tiger, a staple in South Korean culture, ties everything together with a neat bow. Great logo, great team name, and even though the team isn't the "Seoul Tigers," it gets the best of both worlds with a mascot and an even better, more original team name. (20 points)
Promotion: For the third straight category, the Dynasty is perfect. The team has been active on social media and videos, and the Dynasty is not only focusing on the English market but also making sure the South Korean fans don't feel neglected. Everything the team has done has made the franchise feel like the defending champion in a league that hasn't even begun. (10 points)
Merchandise: By this point, you can tell I really enjoy this brand. The jersey is clean, and the black/gold skin lineup is fantastic. It's not the best merchandise lineup of all the teams, meaning I can't give it a fourth straight perfect score, but the Dynasty still pass with flying colors. (9 points)
The first date test: "Is that some sort of K-pop group?" This is where you talk about how South Korea is really good at video games. Your date might leave early, but you're going to sit there, telling the waiter named Philip how Lunatic-Hai won two APEX championships in 2017 and the Dynasty's support player, Je-hong "ryujehong" Ryu, has the best Ana in the entire world. Oh, Philip doesn't know what an Ana is? You have a lot of free time; you'll let him know. (5 points)
Overall score: 64 out of 70
Team name: We've made it to the final name, and oh boy, it's a generic one. I'm not going to lose sleep over the Philadelphia Fusion like the Excelsior, yet I have to say this is one of the weakest entries in our lineup. (5 points)
Logo: Yawn. Just like the name, it's not the worst, but it isn't anything special. Orange is the team's main color, and like I brought up in the first part, the Shock is also using the color orange, albeit a darker shade of it. I know the team has a connection with the Flyers, and having the same colors and team names starting with "F" enforces that, but it does nothing for me. I also don't like the font used on the "P" in the logo; it's almost as bad as Comic Sans. Almost. (4 points)
Promotion: I'm just going to say it: The Philadelphia Fusion intro video is the worst esports video ever created. From the cringy acting of the hired actors and the team's superstar player Jae-hyeok "Carpe" Lee saying, "This is how we do it in Philly" in a dimly lit room that doesn't fit at all with the rest of the video to a generic slideshow of the team's full roster, it's a series of epic mistakes that create a video that will not soon be forgotten. I will admit the team's been active on social media, which means I have to bump the team's score from -5 to at least a single point. (1 point)
Merchandise: I don't even have enough material here to make jokes. It's just boring. Who at Blizzard let there be two orange teams? There were so many other great colors that could have been utilized, but we're left with two teams fighting over the color orange. Someone, please pour one out for the color maroon. (2 points)
The first date test: "No ... this is an Italian restaurant." Philadelphia Fusion sounds like some sort of restaurant that tries to take a Philly cheesesteak and make a menu experimenting with how many different ways you can utilize it. Philly cheesesteak pizza. Philly cheesesteak waffles. Philly cheesesteak pasta. Their slogan? That's how we do it in Philly. (2 points)
Overall score: 14 out of 70
The final (totally not subjective) ranking
Seoul Dynasty (64)
Houston Outlaws (63)
Los Angeles Gladiators (62)
Shanghai Dragons (59)
London Spitfire (54)
Los Angeles Valiant (50)
Dallas Fuel (49)
New York Excelsior (41)
Boston Uprising (36)
Florida Mayhem (35)
San Francisco Shock (25)
Philadelphia Fusion (14)