Houston Outlaws and Dallas Fuel Bring Live Overwatch Back to Texas
After more than a year of the Covid-19 pandemic, certain aspects of life are starting to change and return to some small semblance of normalcy. With caution still in mind, the two esports titans of Texas Overwatch are hosting the first North American live event since the pandemic started in early 2020. Both the Houston Outlaws and the Dallas Fuel are gearing up to welcome fans back in person as the teams compete against one another and give fans a chance to meet the players.
It seems poetic in a way, that in North America it is the Dallas Fuel and Houston Outlaws who are the first ones back with a live event. The Fuel hosted the first homestand of 2020 with the season’s opening weekend at the Esports Stadium Arlington, with more than 4,000 people in attendance each day. They’ll be taking over the ESA once more for their match against the Outlaws on July 9th. The stadium won’t be quite as packed, as it’s operating at half capacity with required masks for the safety of all those who wish to join.
“Our Dallas Fuel match is an important step in the return of live esports events in North Texas following nearly 18 months of online play,” said Justin Rojas, VP of Events at Envy Gaming. “Our fans have been clamoring to see our team play in person this season and we’re excited to finally be able to make that happen. We can’t wait to see the energy the crowd brings to the arena when our players take the stage.”
The Houston Outlaws won’t be on hand at the ESA either, as they’ll be throwing their own side of the event in their own backyard. Similar to how the Dallas Fuel threw the first homestand back in 2020, the Outlaws hosted the final homestand weekend before the Covid-19 pandemic forced the league into online-only play. With some of the world getting back to normal, neither team has forgotten that the safety of players and fans is paramount.
For the Outlaws effort, the live-event will be limited to only 60 attendees with both masks and vaccination cards required as proof. The Outlaws live watch party will take place at Outlaws favorite restaurant, The Herb and Beet, following which the players will join the fans for a meet and greet.
Lori Burgess, COO of Beasley Esports and the Houston Outlaws said, “We are so excited to be amongst the first to try a local event and afford our fans access to the #OutlawsNation again. This is deliberately a smaller and more intimate event but will be incredible for the players. We will be switching to live cameras pre and during breaks in the match to let our event fans see what’s going on at Outlaws HQ.” Lori also mentions that when tickets for the event went on sale, they sold out on day one.
With both Texas teams having hosted the first and last homestand, it’s fitting that this rivalry kicks off the return to live events for North American Overwatch. “The rivalry between the Dallas Fuel and Houston Outlaws is very real,” cited Matt Iorio, GM for The Houston Outlaws. “This dates back to the earliest days of the Overwatch League and boasts some of the League’s most historic moments – like the very first homestand hosted in Dallas where our fanbase headed there in droves to support us. It heated up with the Outlaws winning the LoneStar Challenge last year and has only gotten fiercer this season with both teams dominating the league and fielding our most competitive rosters ever.”
The Houston Outlaws and Dallas Fuel have a rivalry that burns hot not just because of their location, but their history. Since the inception of the Overwatch League, these two teams have been battling back and forth and were actually the first official Overwatch League match back in 2017 for the Inaugural Preseason. Since then, they’ve faced each other 12 times in official and exhibition matches. Historically, Dallas has taken 7 wins over Houston and they have 5 wins over the Fuel. In 2021, Dallas leads two wins over Houston’s one but with fans cheering them on, the next game could go either way.
Jake Lyon, player and coach of the Houston Outlaws said, ““Playing in front of a crowd is a totally unique experience. Esports fans are so passionate that the energy is consistently electric. I hope we get back to it soon, but for now I’m just thankful that we get to play at all.”
Leading up to the games on July 9th between the two rivals, both the Outlaws and Fuel have other plans for fans across the world who can’t attend. It’s set to be a two day event that will start with a friendly match between the two fan-groups for both Texas Teams. The Lonestar Vanguard for the Houston Outlaws and Fahrenheit 214 for the Dallas Fuel. Following that match, a collegiate match will take place between the University of St. Thomas from the Houston area and the University of Texas-Dallas. Both of these matches will be broadcast on the Outlaws Twitch and YouTube Channels.
Note: CheckpointXP and the Houston Outlaws are owned by the same parent company, The Beasley Media Group.