Los Angeles Gladiators
|Founded||August 10, 2017|
|Team history||Los Angeles Gladiators|
|Based in||Los Angeles, California|
|Head coach||David Pei|
|General manager||Kevin Jeon|
The Los Angeles Gladiators is an American professional Overwatch esports team based in Los Angeles, California that competes in the Overwatch League (OWL) as a member of the league's Pacific Division. Founded in 2017, the Los Angeles Gladiators are one of twelve founding members of the OWL and is one of two professional Overwatch teams based in Los Angeles (the other, the Los Angeles Valiant). The team is owned by Stan Kroenke and Josh Kroenke of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment.
Team creation: Joining the Overwatch League
On August 10, 2017, Blizzard officially announced that KSE Esports, owned by Stan Kroenke and Josh Kroenke, had acquired the second Los Angeles-based Overwatch League franchise spot. On November 2, as the twelfth and final franchise to unveil their branding, the team revealed the franchise would be called the Los Angeles Gladiators, as well as formally announcing they had partnered with Rob Moore's Phoenix1 (later renamed to Sentinels after the partnership) to help manage the operations of the team. During the same announcement, they unveiled their initial 7-player inaugural season roster and revealed the players were picked from a conglomeration of professional Overwatch esports teams to suit an "aggressive and fun" playstyle the team hoped to emulate as a reflection of their personality.
In early December 2017, the Gladiators took part in the inaugural Overwatch League preseason where they would beat the London Spitfire, before losing to city rivals the Los Angeles Valiant. Shortly afterwards, on January 10, 2018, the Gladiators began their inaugural regular season campaign. Their debut match was a 4–0 victory over the Shanghai Dragons. They finished Stage 1 with a 4–6 record in 8th place.
Heading into Stage 2, the team announced the transfer of tank player Baek "Fissure" Chan-hyung from the London Spitfire. Following the acquisition of Fissure, the team finished the stage in fifth place with a 6–4 record, including a 4–0 sweep over the Valiant.
Between Stages 2 and 3, the Gladiators acquired Ted "silkthread" Wang from the Valiant and Kang "Void" Jun-woo from Kongdoo Panthera. However, visa issues would cause Void to completely miss out on Stage 3. The Gladiators finished Stage 3 with a 6–4 record in fourth place, which, beginning with the third stage, was the final stage playoff spot. The top-seeded Boston Uprising, undefeated in Stage 3, selected the Gladiators as their first round opponent. On May 6, the Uprising swept the Gladiators 3–0.
The Gladiators, now regularly using Void in their lineup following his visa being approved, finished with a league-best 9–1 record in Stage 4, including a reverse sweep over back-to-back stage champions New York Excelsior. However, the team would unexpectedly choose the second-seeded Valiant as their semi-final opposition. The Valiant would subsequently defeat the Gladiators in the Stage Playoffs by a score of 3–2. They would end the season with a 25–15 record, good for 4th place and a spot in the postseason where they would face against the London Spitfire.
On July 11, the first day of the season's playoffs, the fourth-seeded Gladiators took a 1–0 series lead after defeating the fifth-seeded Spitfire 3–0 in their first ever playoffs match. The Gladiators made headlines by surprisingly announcing on the day of the first match that main tank Fissure would be benched in favor of Luis "iRemiix" Galarza Figueroa. Later on the same day, Fissure was revealed by Blizzard as the runner-up in the inaugural Overwatch League season MVP vote. Two days later, the Gladiators would be eliminated from the playoffs after the Spitfire shut out the Gladiators in back-to-back matches to win the series 2–1.
In the offseason, the Gladiators announced the departure of Fissure, who had been transferred to the Seoul Dynasty. DPS Surefour, tank Bischu, and support BigGoose would represent the team in the Overwatch League's inaugural All-Star Weekend. The Gladiators would later release DPS players Asher and Silkthread, along with main tank iRemiix. On October 25, 2018, the Gladiators began their lead-up to the 2019 season by announcing the signings of main tank player Gye "r0ar" Chang-hoon and DPS player Jang "Decay" Gui-un. Both had previously competed for Kongdoo Panthera, where they finished second in Overwatch Contenders Korea.
Name, logo and colors
On November 2, 2017, the Los Angeles Gladiators brand was officially unveiled. The name and logo, a roaring lion head in a battle-hardened shield, were selected in spirit of the original superstars of sports and entertainment (as well as the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum), the gladiators of ancient Rome, whose ferocity and "willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice captured the hearts of millions of people of all backgrounds for centuries". Continuing with the gladiator theme, the team colors were announced as purple and white, inspired from the royal colors of the Roman emperors that the gladiators fought for. In addition, the written logo was revealed with a contrasting color used intentionally for the connected letters L and A in "Gladiators", to highlight the Los Angeles location of the team.
As an addition to their branding, the Gladiators began using the slogan "Shields up" on social media, possibly a reference to the frequent use of shields by the ancient Roman gladiators as a means of defense. As a result, fans of the team have often chanted "Shields up" during the team's matches. When asked what the slogan meant to him in an interview, head coach David "dpei" Pei stated, "It's kind of like defending your team, like being there for your team...I think that's what kind of epitomizes the Gladiators' saying 'shields up'."
|Los Angeles Gladiators seasons|
|Season||MP||W||L||Win%||Pos. (div.)||Pos. (league)||Stage 1 Playoffs||Stage 2 Playoffs||Stage 3 Playoffs||Stage 4 Playoffs||Season Playoffs||Earnings|
|2018||40||25||15||.625||2nd||4th||Not eligible||Not eligible||Semifinals||Semifinals||Quarterfinals||$200,000|
Los Angeles Gladiators roster
- As of March 20, 2019.
|Los Angeles Gladiators head coaches|
|dpei||David Pei||November 2, 2017||–||1 year, 226 days|||
Awards and accomplishments
OWL All-Star Game selections
- BigGoose (Benjamin Isohanni) – 2018
- Fissure (Baek Chan-hyung) – 2018
- Surefour (Lane Roberts) – 2018
- Bischu (Aaron Kim) – 2018
- Decay (Jang Gui-Un) – 2019
On February 15, 2018, the Gladiators formally announced their academy team would go under the name "Gladiators Legion" for Overwatch Contenders North America, as well as revealing their 6-player Season One roster led by head coach Gannon "RaptorZ" Nelson.
- As of June 5, 2019.
|Water||Min-sung Lee||Damage||South Korea|
|Dalton||Dalton Bennyhoff||Damage||United States|
|Panker (Two-way)||Byong-ho Lee||Tank||South Korea|
|Stand1||Ji-won Seo||Tank||South Korea|
|Year||Season||OWC Regular Season||OWC Playoffs||International|
|3||North America||5||2||3||.400||5th||Did not qualify||–||–|
|2019||1||North America East||7||3||4||.429||4th||Finals||Did not qualify|
- Webster, Andrew (August 10, 2017). "Blizzard's Overwatch League continues to expand with new teams in London and LA". The Verge. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
- Wolf, Jacob (August 10, 2017). "Cloud9 buys London, Kroenkes grab L.A. Overwatch League spots". ESPN. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
- Khan, Imad (November 2, 2017). "With the Gladiators announced for the Overwatch League, all twelve teams are now set". ESPN. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
- Newman, Heather (November 2, 2017). "L.A. Gladiators To Feature 'Aggressive, Fun' Playstyle In Overwatch League". Forbes. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- Carpenter, Nicole (November 2, 2017). "Players from Cloud9, Kungarna, and Team Gigantti make up the LA Gladiators roster". Dot Esports. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
- Erzberger, Tyler (January 9, 2018). "Overwatch League Week 0 Power Rankings". ESPN. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
- Donigan, Wyatt (January 15, 2018). "Dynasty survives Fuel, Valiant tops Shock, Gladiators squashes Dragons as OWL regular season begins". ESPN. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
- D'Orazio, Nick (February 20, 2018). "Fissure transfers from London Spitfire to LA Gladiators". Inven Global. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
- Waltzer, Noah (March 8, 2018). "Seoul Dynasty keeps unbeaten Stage 2 going with win over Shanghai Dragons". ESPN. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
- Lingle, Samuel (March 26, 2018). "Los Angeles Gladiators add Void, reuniting KongDoo tank pair". Dot Esports. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- Carpenter, Nicole (April 3, 2018). "Silkthread switches from Los Angeles' Valiant Overwatch League team to Gladiators". Dot Esports. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- Tahan, Chelsey (May 23, 2018). "Void is ready to play for the Los Angeles Gladiators". Overwatch Wire. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
- Tahan, Chelsey (May 6, 2018). "Here is everything you need to know about the Stage Three playoffs". Overwatch Wire. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
- Waltzer, Noah (May 7, 2018). "New York Excelsior earns back-to-back stage titles". ESPN. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
- Nash, Anthony (June 8, 2018). "Good, bad, and ugly from the Gladiators' reverse sweep of New York". Overwatch Wire. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
- Baker, Harry (June 16, 2018). "The Gladiators have picked the Valiant as their Stage Playoff opponent". Overwatch Wire. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
- Donigan, Wyatt (June 18, 2018). "Los Angeles Valiant beats New York Excelsior in Stage 4 final". ESPN. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
- Baker, Harry (July 12, 2018). "L.A. Gladiators dominate London Spitfire in their first quarterfinals series". Overwatch Wire. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
- Nguyen, Steven (July 12, 2018). "Gladiators dominant in opening playoff match vs. Spitfire". ESPN. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
- Mejia, Ozzie (July 11, 2018). "New York Excelsior's JJoNak Named First Overwatch League Regular Season MVP". Shacknews. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
- Baker, Harry (July 14, 2018). "London reverse sweep two back-to-back series against Gladiators, head to semifinals". Overwatch Wire. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
- "Fissure Traded to Seoul". The Overwatch League. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
- Binkowski, Justin (October 25, 2018). "Los Angeles Gladiators add 2 new players for OWL's second season". Retrieved November 14, 2018.
- Vejnovic, Tatjana (November 2, 2017). "Blizzard Announces Final Team for Overwatch League". Overwatch Wire. Retrieved July 14, 2018.
- Akshon Esports Overwatch (February 19, 2018), Overwatch League Team Signs RunAway Player - The Meaning Behind Shields Up | Akshon Recap, retrieved November 6, 2018
- Tahan, Chelsey (February 15, 2018). "LA Gladiators reveal their Contenders team: the Gladiators Legion". Overwatch Wire. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
- "MEET THE GLADIATORS LEGION". Los Angeles Gladiators. February 15, 2018. Retrieved July 13, 2018 – via Overwatch League.
- "Gladiators Legion vs. OpTic Academy". Dot Esports. April 18, 2018. Archived from the original on July 7, 2018. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
- O'Brien, Joe (May 14, 2018). "Fusion University Wins Overwatch Contenders NA Season One - Final Placements". Dexerto. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
- "Contenders Teams". Overwatch Contenders. Retrieved June 5, 2019.