Dallas Fuel is an American professional Overwatch team based in Dallas , Texas . The Fuel competes in the Overwatch League (OWL) as a member of the league’s Pacific West Division.
Founded in 2017, Dallas Fuel is one of the league’s twelve founding teams and is one of two professional Overwatch teams based in Texas (the other, Houston Outlaws ). The Fuel became the first team to play a home game, as they hosted the “Dallas Fuel Homestand Weekend” at the Allen Event Center in 2019; Dallas will host five homestands in 2020 at various locations. The team is owned by e-sports organization Envy Gaming , which also owns Team Envy . Team Envy runs its own Overwatch division that competes in Overwatch Contenders as an academy team for the Fuel.
Kyle “KyKy” Souder was named the team’s first head coach, but after a disappointing first half of the 2018 season , he was replaced by Aaron “Aero” Atkins. Aero led the team to a Stage 4 playoff berth in 2018, but has yet to lead the Fuel to the playoffs in the Overwatch League season.
Formed during the Overwatch closed beta in February 2016, Dallas Fuel originally began as an all-American roster playing under the Overwatch division for eSports franchise Team Envy . Although their original roster showed some promise in online tournaments, just before the official launch of Overwatch they disbanded. Their next turn to build a roster saw them look overseas, eventually bringing players from all over Europe to their Charlotte headquarters and securing the core of what would become the Dallas Fuel in Sebastian “chipshajen” Widlund, Christian “cocco” Jonsson, Jonathan “HarryHook” Tejedor Rua and Timo “Taimou” Kettunen. The team was very successful, winning OGN’s Overwatch APEX Season 1 in Seoul , Korea, winning the Overwatch NA Invitational in MLG Vegas, and going undefeated and winning the 2018 Overwatch Contenders North American Season 1 . The Contenders playoffs marked both the debut of Brandon “Seagull” Larned , and the final event played under the moniker “Team EnVyUs”.
First years: 2018-present
In December 2017, the Fuel went undefeated in the first preseason of the Overwatch League. Shortly thereafter, on January 10, 2018, the Fuel began their inaugural regular season campaign . Their debut match resulted in a 1-2 loss to early season favorites Seoul Dynasty . They would struggle for the remainder of Stage 1 and finish with a 3-7 record in 10th place, which did not reflect how the team previously fared as Team Envy. The Fuel finished Stage 2 in 11th place with a 2-8 record. At the beginning of Stage 3, head coach KyKy and DPS player Rascal were released after some fights between the two. The team’s only victory in the stage was over the winless Shanghai Dragons, making their stage record 1-9. The team signed Fusion University head coach Aaron “Aero” Atkins before the fourth stage began. The Fuel would go on to achieve a season-high 6 wins, including victories against top 6 opponents: Valiant , Uprising , Spitfire and Fusion . The record would be good enough for a fourth place finish and the team’s first stage playoff berth. In the stage semifinals, the team would lose 2-3 to back-to-back stage champions New York Excelsior , the game marking the end of their season as they would finish in 10th place with a 12-28 record.
On October 5, 2017, the Dallas Fuel brand was officially unveiled. The creation stemmed from the Overwatch League’s requirement that participating franchises create new geolocated brands, as well as commercial entities, specific to the league.
Due to the influence of the energy sector on the Dallas culture and economy, in addition to the rich energy sector legacy of new investment partners Hersh Interactive Group, led by Kenneth Hersh , based in Dallas , the name “Fuel” was ultimately chosen. In addition, the team revealed that they hoped the selection would appeal to fans from all walks of life.
With the franchise looking to breathe new life into eSports fans in Dallas and hoping to transcend current industry standards, the iconic blue flame was selected to symbolize the spark that would ignite change. The logo also pays homage to the heritage and strength of the energy sector in Texas, the industry in which team investor Kenneth Hersh made his riches.
Ownership and finance.
On September 18, 2017, Envy Gaming owner , Mike “Hastr0” Rufail, a Texas native , confirmed that the organization had secured a multi-million dollar investment from Hersh Interactive Group . The deal involved Hersh acting as the organization’s strategic partners, while Hastr0 would remain the principal owner and operator of the team. Shortly thereafter, on September 20, it was officially announced that the Dallas-based Overwatch League franchise had been acquired by Team Envy for $20 million.
In November 2017, Team Envy signed a multi-million dollar, multi-year deal with restaurant chain Jack in the Box . As part of the deal, Jack in the Box became the official quick service restaurant and exclusive jersey rights partner of Fuel, in addition to having its logo on official team merchandise available for public purchase. The team’s partnership marked the first of its kind in the Overwatch League.
The Fuel in 2019 became the first Overwatch League team to host a home game. The two-day event, the Dallas Fuel Homestand Weekend, was held at the Allen Event Center in Allen, Texas and sold out 4,500 seats each day. Held in part to test the viability of the league’s plan to hold games locally, Dallas Fuel was responsible for all aspects of the weekend, aside from the broadcast, which aired on ESPN2. Marking the highest viewership for Stage 2 in 2019, the home stay showed that the home game model holds promise.
The Fuel was scheduled to host five home-stay weekends for the league in the 2020 season. The games would have taken place at Esports Stadium Arlington , Toyota Music Factory , Allen Event Center and two more undetermined locations. These home weekends were later cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.