The Toronto Defiant are the first team to take the Overwatch League buyout and exit, saving $6 million dollars in the process.

The true death knell begins for the Overwatch League as the first team has taken the buyout exit offer. Announced today by its parent company OverActive Media, it's confirmed that the Toronto Defiant will exit Overwatch League and take the $6 million dollar USD buyout for its franchise spot. This further confirms the report from freelance blogger Jacob Wolf that the OWL shutdown vote is well underway.

“This strategic restructuring of our league assets marks a new chapter for OverActive,” said Adam Adamou, Co-Founder and Interim CEO, OverActive Media. “We extend our deepest thanks to the Overwatch League, its fans, and the community for their unwavering support."

"Toronto Defiant has proudly competed under the League’s banner, and we’ve built incredible memories together. As we transition into the next phase of Overwatch esports, we look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Toronto Defiant take Overwatch League buyout

Given the money sink that a majority of the franchises have ended up being, it comes as no surprise that the Toronto Defiant are first to take the Overwatch League buyout. This comes off the news months ago from OverActive Media that the league waived its entry fee which was still owed by the group. Being in the positive part of the books, the move is purely a way to prop up its own balance sheet.

The agreement "allows OverActive to exit its commitments in the Overwatch League and provides it with strengthened financial stability."

The future of OWL

What happens now? The exit of the Toronto Defiant from OWL doesn't say one way or the other if every team will follow. OverActive does say that it plans on sharing "our vision for Toronto Defiant and our plans to return to Overwatch esports." What does that mean? The two rumors abound include the Saudi-owned ESL FACEIT Group beginning it's own league. There's also strong hints of a Korean-centered circuit league, similar to APEX League pre-OWL.

Regardless, change is coming, and fast.

Stay tuned to for esports news and Overwatch League information.