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The Philadelphia Fusion played its first official match in Philly

Philly's Overwatch League team squared off — and lost — against the New York Excelsior for its first-ever home exhibition match.

The Philadelphia Fusion at Lucky Strike.

(Courtesy photo)

Philadelphia’s car-flipping, awning-crushingpole-climbing passion for sports is well known. But is the fire there for esports?

The Philadelphia Fusion — Philly’s official team in the Overwatch League — got a taste of local sports fanaticism over the weekend as it played its first home game. Surrounded by Philly fans at Center City bowling spot Lucky Strike, the team took on the New York Excelsior for a five match exhibition match, losing to the New York team 3-2.

Normally, league matches are held at Blizzard Entertainment’s Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles, with Philly fans catching the livestreamed matches at raucous watch parties. In attendance at the Saturday match, the Inquirer reports, was a rowdy group of Fusion fans about 300-strong, an obnoxious New York fan and, because of course he was, Philadelphia Flyers mascot and noted culture wars survivor Gritty.

“We are thrilled to bring the team back to Philadelphia and have them play in front of the most passionate fans in the Overwatch League for the first time,” said in an email Fusion’s Chief Business Officer Joe Marsh.

The Fusion’s active roster of nine players hails from a handful of countries. None are from here, but they’d be wise to start getting to know the city better: By 2020, the franchise will relocate full time to Philly from its Los Angeles hub.

“The players are always blown away by the reception they receive when meeting fans in person and we are excited to officially bring the first live in-person professional Overwatch event to Philadelphia.”

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Isaac “Boombox” Charles, a British player for the esports team, said in an email that playing before a home crowd was fun.

“Each time we’ve come home, the fans have shown up and now I really understand why people say that Philly has the most passionate sports fans,” Charlse said. “Moving to Philly will be a great experience. The character of the city and the diverse culture make it a really fun place to visit. I can’t wait to live there and have more time to explore.”

People: Joe Marsh, Gritty
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