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London Spitfire win inaugural Overwatch League eSports championship

The UK franchise were crowned champions after beating Philadelphia Fusion in the shooting game’s grand finals.

The London Spitfire eSports team have won the first-ever Overwatch League championship after beating the Philadelphia Fusion at a showpiece event in New York.

The team, which is made up entirely of Korean players, picked up the one million dollar prize as well as the league winners trophy in front of a sold-out Barclays Centre arena in Brooklyn.

The two-day finals have been hailed as a watershed moment for the eSports business, with industry executives and competitive gamers suggesting the scale of the event – which sold around 20,000 tickets and saw an appearance by music star DJ Khaled – proves it should be taken seriously.

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(Martyn Landi/PA)

After picking up the trophy, London Spitfire owner Jack Etienne said he understood why questions were still asked about the legitimacy of eSports as a sport, but felt those that dismissed it were “missing out”.

“I’ve seen these arguments go back and forth”, he said.

“I don’t really think about it too much, to be honest. I feel like we are who we are and there’s a lot of people who like it and if you don’t like it that’s fine – but I think you’re really missing out on something if you don’t enjoy it.”

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London Spitfire owner Jack Etienne with the Overwatch League trophy (Martyn Landi/PA)

Competitive Overwatch matches are played between two teams of six, who fight across a range of in-game maps and modes to earn points towards winning a best-of-three series.

The triumphant Spitfire team confirmed it was planning a visit to London in October to celebrate the victory, which came after a 2-0 win over the Fusion.

Ahead of the finals, Overwatch league commissioner Nate Nanzer confirmed the company was one of several eSports competitions to have held initial talks with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) about pro gaming one day becoming part of the Olympic Games.

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