It appears that, in spite of some belly-aching coming from fans and former staff of the Overwatch League, at least one team appears to be making intelligent moves that seem to already offer promise for the next season of the tumultuous league.
Three years ago, the Houston Outlaws stood up in Texas with the likes of Jake Lyon, CoolMatt, and Muma in the same state that the ill-fated Dallas Fuel stream-team was announced with Seagull and xQc.
The inevitable rivalry proved to be arguably short-lived, as the Dallas Fuel struggled with poor decision making and roster moves that has continued as recently as a few months ago, when they dropped yet another Korean superstar from their roster after both parties appeared to arrive at an impasse.
The Houston Outlaws have had no such barrier; in spite of dropping out first in the most-recent playoffs (which surprised the Houston Outlaws and the rest of the League that they had been playing against) they have continued to be a relatively strong team that tends to waver around the middle of the pack.
Jake Lyon, who was the brief face of the league to the joy of soccer-moms everywhere, ended up as a caster. Now, Matt ‘CoolMatt’ Iorio has just been announced as the General Manager of the Houston Outlaws at 31 years of age.
— Hanbammer (@hanthebammer) October 19, 2020
It makes sense, and we’ve seen this in the past as competitors age-out of esport leagues; they take that insight and experience and bring it into the esport management side of the operation. Akin to how soccer takes former pros and evolves them into managers.
It works well precisely because of how well the player-cum-manager understands the scene at a root level that allows them to guide organizations through thick and thin with the help of an advisor or three, walking the fine line between keeping the players happy and inspired while keeping the organizational aspect similarly sated.
Matt Iorio was hard at work behind the scenes in Season 3 (the 2020 season) to ensure that all the necessary boxes were ticked and the Texas machine was well-primed for upcoming matches; staff and players alike have come forward stating that this is an intelligent move that will likely have long-term effects that will ripple forward for the upcoming season.
Currently, as the Thanos snap has players and rosters being emptied and generally in a state of upheaval, the Houston Outlaws are noticeably one of the few organizations that are already making moves to prepare for the next season.
Looks like it’s time to ante up.