When the New York Excelsior announced in November 2022 that it would be fielding a marginalized-gender roster in the upcoming Overwatch League season, the move raised concerns among some fans. But two weeks into the current season, the Excelsior is doing surprisingly well, and some of the skeptics are starting to come around.
By promising to field a team of mixed-gender players, the Excelsior has established diversity and equity as part of its New York-themed brand identity — an intentional move, according to the team’s creative director, Matt Lucero.
“New York attracts a certain type of person, and the people who make it here are willing to step outside of the comfort zone and make a dent in the world,” Lucero said. “We don’t necessarily look at people of different backgrounds or marginalized genders as an opportunity for engagement — I think we look at them as an athlete, and we put them into the athletic ecosystem and set them up for success.”
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