An attempt by Professional Esports Association (PEA) to host a Hearthstone and/or an Overwatch league this year has gone in vain.
Following its decision to remove itself from the Counter-Strike scene, shuttering its inaugural CS:GO league in the process, the recently formed esports organization turned towards Blizzard games for another shot at an exclusive event.
According to veteran esports journalist Richard Lewis, Blizzard rejected the request and denied PEA the license to hold any event for its games. This includes Hearthstone as well as an Overwatch league.
At the time it was thought that Electronic Sports League (ESL) had influenced Blizzard’s decision to deny a license to PEA. Lewis has now confirmed that sources close to the matter have revealed ESL to not be involved. Blizzard had its own reasons to keep PEA at bay.
It's clear now ESL had nothing to do with Blizzard not wanting to grant PEA a tournament license. Blizzard have their own reasons.
— Richard Lewis (@RLewisReports) January 6, 2017
We can only assume that granting PEA a license would have worked against the developer’s esports plans for its games. An official Overwatch League is already being prepped for its inauguration later this year. Logically, Blizzard wouldn’t want a third-party to be hosting an exclusive league in direct competition to its own.
That being said, Blizzard did grant South Korean’s eSports broadcaster and tournament organizer OnGameNet a license to host Overwatch APEX League last year. Additionally, it partnered with Major League Gaming (MLG) to promote Overwatch as well.
If it was only about expanding the game’s competitive horizons, Blizzard would have probably allowed PEA to host staged events. However, the context here is the organization’s controversial past couple of months. The drama may have been one factor that forced Blizzard to deny PEA’s request for a license to any of its games.