Los Angeles Gladiators
FoundedAugust 10, 2017
LeagueOverwatch League
ConferencePacific
DivisionWest
Team historyLos Angeles Gladiators
(2017–present)
Based inLos Angeles, California
Colors     
OwnerStan Kroenke
Josh Kroenke
Head coachDavid "dpei" Pei
General managerBrenda "bsuh" Suh
Affiliation(s)Gladiators Legion
Parent groupKroenke Sports & Entertainment
WebsiteOfficial website
Uniforms

The Los Angeles Gladiators are an American professional Overwatch esports team based in Los Angeles, California. The Gladiators compete in the Overwatch League (OWL) as a member of the league's Pacific West Division.

Founded in 2017, the Los Angeles Gladiators are one of twelve founding members of the OWL and are 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, who also own Gladiators Legion, an academy team for Los Angeles that compete in Overwatch Contenders.

David "dpei" Pei was appointed the team's first head coach and has led the Gladiators to a season playoff appearance in every season.

Franchise history

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.[1][2] 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.[3] 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.[4][5]

Early years: 2018–present

dpei was appointed the team's first head coach.
dpei was appointed the team's first head coach.

Los Angeles' first regular season match, played on January 10, 2018, resulted in a 4–0 sweep over the Shanghai Dragons.[6] They finished Stage 1 with a 4–6 record in 8th place. The team finished the Stage 2 in fifth place with a 6–4 record, including a 4–0 sweep over the Valiant.[7] The Gladiators finished Stage 3 with a 6–4 record in fourth place, which, gave the team the final stage playoff spot.[8] 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.[9] The Gladiators finished with a league-best 9–1 record in Stage 4, including a reverse sweep over back-to-back stage champions New York Excelsior.[10] The team unexpectedly chose the second-seeded Valiant as their semifinal opponents;[11] the Valiant subsequently defeated the Gladiators in the stage playoffs by a score of 3–2.[12] The team ended the season with a 25–15 record – good for the fourth seed in the season playoffs. In their first playoff series, the Gladiators faced the London Spitfire. Los Angeles took the first match, 3–0, but they fell in the following two matches to the Spitfire, ending their playoff run.[13]

The Gladiators struggled early on in the 2019 season, losing four of their first five matches, and did not qualify for the Stage 1 Playoffs.[14] The team hit their stride in Stage 2 with a 6–1 record and claimed the fourth seed in the Stage 2 Playoffs;[15] however, they lost in the quarterfinals to the New York Excelsior, 0–3.[16] The Gladiators' performance dropped in Stage 3, as they were only able to amass a 4–3 for the stage and missed out on Stage 3 Playoffs by one spot.[17] With the implementation of an enforced 2-2-2 role lock by the league in Stage 4, Los Angeles won three of their first six matches in the stage. The Gladiators closed out the season with a 3–1 victory over the Los Angeles Valiant at the Valiant's homestand weekend at The Novo, giving the team an 18–11 overall record and the fifth seed in the season playoffs.[18] The Gladiators began their playoff run with a 4–3 victory over the Hangzhou Spark in the first round, marking the team's first ever playoff series win, including stage playoffs, in franchise history.[19][20] The win advanced the team to the first round in the upper bracket, but they fell 2–4 to the Vancouver Titans, sending them to the lower bracket.[21] Los Angeles' season came to an end the following match, when they were swept 0–4 by the San Francisco Shock.[22]

In the preceding offseason of the 2020 season, controversy arose among Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE) and management organization, Sentinels. Sentinels CEO Rob Moore filed suit against KSE, alleging that KSE executive Josh Kroenke had violated a verbal joint venture agreement between the two sides.[23] In the aftermath from the lawsuit, it was announced that KSE and Sentinels would part ways, and KSE would officially take over management of the Gladiators on October 1, 2019. KSE would build up their own esports front office to manage both the Gladiators and a Los Angeles-based franchise in the Call of Duty League, which was later revealed as the Los Angeles Guerrillas.[24]

The Gladiators finished their 2020 season with 11 wins and 10 losses to claim the sixth seed in the North America region.[25] On September 4, Los Angeles advanced to the season playoffs after 3–2 win over the Toronto Defiant in the North American Play-in tournament.[26] In the first round of the North American playoffs, the Gladiators were swept by the Philadelphia Fusion, sending them to the lower bracket.[27] They lost to the Florida Mayhem in the first round of the lower bracket, which eliminated them from the playoffs.[28]

In the 2021 offseason, the Los Angeles Gladiators competed in the SteelSeries Invitational winning the tournament against the Boston Uprising 3-0.[29]

Team identity

On November 2, 2017, the Los Angeles Gladiators brand was officially unveiled.[3] 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.[30]

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.'"[31]

Zayde Wølf's song "Gladiator" was used by the team during their last entrance of the 2018 playoffs. The song became popular with the team's fans, and since then it has been used by the team for almost every single one of their entrances at the arena.

Personnel

Current roster

Los Angeles Gladiators roster
Players Coaches
Role No. Handle Name Nationality
Damage 20 birdring  Kim Ji-hyeok  South Korea 
Damage 18 kevster  Persson, Kevin   Sweden 
Damage 7 MirroR  Trịnh, Gia Huy   Vietnam 
Tank 9 MuZe  Kim Young-hun  South Korea 
Tank 16 SPACE  Halpern, Indy   United States 
Support 64 moth  Espe, Grant   United States 
Support 1 Shu  Kim Jin-seo  South Korea 
Support 66 skewed  Kim Min-seok  South Korea 
Head coach
  • David "dpei" Pei

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (2W) Two-way player
  • (I) Inactive
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injury/Illness

Latest roster transaction: December 4, 2020.

Head coaches

Los Angeles Gladiators head coaches
Handle Name From To Span Ref.
dpei David Pei November 2, 2017 3 years, 176 days [4]

Awards and records

Seasons overview

Season P W L W% MW ML MT MD Pos. (league) Pos. (conf.) Playoffs Earnings
2018 40 25 15 .625 96 72 3 +24 4th 2nd Quarterfinals $200,000
2019 28 17 11 .607 67 48 3 +19 5th 4th Lower Round 2 $325,000
2020 21 11 10 .524 43 39 5 +4 9th 5th NA Lower Round 1 $85,000
2021 4 2 2 .500 8 6 0 +2 8th 6th TBD $0

Individual accomplishments

All-Star Game selections

Academy team

Main article: Gladiators Legion

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.[32][33]

On December 4, 2019, Gladiators Legion announced they would disband after two years of competing in Overwatch Contenders.

Notes

  1. ^ Fissure was selected to the 2018 All-Star Game whilst a member of the Gladiators, but was transferred to the Seoul Dynasty in the offseason period prior to the All-Star Game and, thus, would represent the Dynasty while participating in the event.

References

  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Wolf, Jacob (August 10, 2017). "Cloud9 buys London, Kroenkes grab L.A. Overwatch League spots". ESPN. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Khan, Imad (November 2, 2017). "With the Gladiators announced for the Overwatch League, all twelve teams are now set". ESPN. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Newman, Heather (November 2, 2017). "L.A. Gladiators To Feature 'Aggressive, Fun' Playstyle In Overwatch League". Forbes. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  5. ^ Carpenter, Nicole (November 2, 2017). "Players from Cloud9, Kungarna, and Team Gigantti make up the LA Gladiators roster". Dot Esports. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  6. ^ Donigan, Wyatt (January 15, 2018). "Dynasty survives Fuel, Valiant tops Shock, Gladiators squashes Dragons as OWL regular season begins". ESPN. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  7. ^ Waltzer, Noah (March 8, 2018). "Seoul Dynasty keeps unbeaten Stage 2 going with win over Shanghai Dragons". ESPN. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  8. ^ Tahan, Chelsey (May 6, 2018). "Here is everything you need to know about the Stage Three playoffs". Overwatch Wire. Archived from the original on October 21, 2018. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  9. ^ Waltzer, Noah (May 7, 2018). "New York Excelsior earns back-to-back stage titles". ESPN. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  10. ^ Nash, Anthony (June 8, 2018). "Good, bad, and ugly from the Gladiators' reverse sweep of New York". Overwatch Wire. Archived from the original on October 21, 2018. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  11. ^ Baker, Harry (June 16, 2018). "The Gladiators have picked the Valiant as their Stage Playoff opponent". Overwatch Wire. Archived from the original on October 21, 2018. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  12. ^ Donigan, Wyatt (June 18, 2018). "Los Angeles Valiant beats New York Excelsior in Stage 4 final". ESPN. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  13. ^ Baker, Harry (July 14, 2018). "London reverse sweep two back-to-back series against Gladiators, head to semifinals". Overwatch Wire. Archived from the original on October 21, 2018. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  14. ^ Erzberger, Tyler; Rand, Emily (March 13, 2019). "Overwatch League power rankings through Week 4". ESPN. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  15. ^ August, Charlotte (May 6, 2019). "Overwatch League Stage 2 Playoff Primer, Part 1". ESTNN. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  16. ^ Amos, Andrew (May 10, 2019). "New York Excelsior and Vancouver Titans set to meet in Overwatch League stage 2 semifinals". Dot Esports. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  17. ^ Stenzel, Zach (July 11, 2019). "How Will the Gladiators Fare in 2-2-2 Role Lock?". The Game Haus. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  18. ^ Richardson, Liz (August 26, 2019). "Overwatch League season playoffs update: Stage 4, week 5". Dot Esports. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  19. ^ "Gladiators, Titans win on Day 1 of Overwatch League playoffs". ESPB. Reuters. September 6, 2019. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  20. ^ Cuevo, Chris (September 5, 2019). "LA Gladiators' rOar Has a Message for the Vancouver Titans". InvenGlobal. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  21. ^ Richardson, Liz (September 8, 2019). "Vancouver Titans and New York Excelsior advance in the Overwatch League postseason". Dot Esports. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  22. ^ Richardson, Liz (September 12, 2019). "Atlanta Reign, Los Angeles Gladiators eliminated from Overwatch League playoffs". Dot Esports. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  23. ^ Wolf, Jacob (August 2, 2019). "Sentinels CEO sues Kroenke Sports & Entertainment over Echo Fox purchase". ESPN. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  24. ^ Wolf, Jacob (September 17, 2019). "Kroenke Sports & Entertainment parts with Sentinels, to build own esports front office". ESPN. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  25. ^ Richardson, Liz (September 2, 2020). "How do the 2020 Overwatch League playoffs work?". Dot Esports. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  26. ^ Richardson, Liz (September 4, 2020). "Four more teams eliminated in Overwatch League playoffs". Dot Esports. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  27. ^ Miller, Chris (September 5, 2020). "Overwatch League – Los Angeles Gladiators Face The Philadelphia Fusion Surprisingly Quick". Happy Gamer. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  28. ^ Field Level Media (September 6, 2020). "Fusion, Shock hold form at OWL NA playoffs". Reuters. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  29. ^ BradRK (March 4, 2021). "L.A. Gladiators SteelSeries Invitational Recap". The Game Haus. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  30. ^ Vejnovic, Tatjana (November 2, 2017). "Blizzard Announces Final Team for Overwatch League". Overwatch Wire. Retrieved July 14, 2018.
  31. ^ Akshon Esports Overwatch (February 19, 2018), Overwatch League Team Signs RunAway Player - The Meaning Behind Shields Up | Akshon Recap, retrieved November 6, 2018
  32. ^ Tahan, Chelsey (February 15, 2018). "LA Gladiators reveal their Contenders team: the Gladiators Legion". Overwatch Wire. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  33. ^ "MEET THE GLADIATORS LEGION". Los Angeles Gladiators. February 15, 2018. Retrieved July 13, 2018 – via Overwatch League.