Overwatch League teams have been announced
On July 12, Blizzard made strides towards turning Overwatch into a bigger presence in the eSports world. They announced the first seven teams for the soon-to-be Overwatch League along with the owners of said teams. What’s a little bit different about this league than other traditional eSports leagues is that teams are based in a specific city, much like conventional sports leagues.
In addition to being structured like conventional sports leagues, at least in a way, a few of the owners come from conventional sports leagues. Robert Kraft, the New England Patriots football team’s owner, owns the Overwatch team based in Boston. In addition, the COO of the New York Mets, Jeff Wilpon, owns the New York City team. The other teams have owners from a more traditional stock in eSports history. To round out the US-based teams, a San Francisco team is owned by Andy Miller, who founded and currently chairs NRG Esports, a Miami/Orlando team owned by Ben Spoont, who co-founded and is the current CEO of Misfits Gaming, and a Los Angeles team owned by Noah Whinston, the current CEO of Immortals. There are two overseas teams; one is based in Seoul, South Korea owned by Kevin Chou, the co-founder of Kabam, while the other is based in Shanghai and is owned by NetEase, Blizzard’s Chinese partner.
This news, presented in video format by Nate Nazer, the commissioner of the Overwatch League, comes shortly after rumors erupted, stating that the buy in is at least $20,000,000 per slot. It appears as if those rumors are true, as the people getting involved certainly have the freedom to spend that kind of cash on such a speculative project. As the video ended, Nazer made the comment that the Overwatch League is still looking for more teams until the season starts later this year.
Blizzard also had some additional information in their press release. Teams will be given Season 1 to get their venues prepared for home-and-away play, so the teams will all play in Los Angeles every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday during the season. After Season 1, teams will have a more traditional sport’s schedule, in that there will be home and away games, hopefully with a hometown crowd that develops a bit of loyalty towards their team. Each team will also be granted a license to run five different amateur Overwatch events within their home territory per year. This allows for further loyalty-building as well as a player’s chance to show off his or her stuff in front of a potential future employer.
Blizzard also released some information on the financial aspects of the teams as well. Teams will receive equal shares of the league-wide revenues from league-wide advertising, ticketing, and broadcast rights deals in addition to all local revenues up to a predetermined cap each year. After the local revenue cap is hit, a portion of all exceeding local funds will go into the league-share pool. On top of all of that, there will be team-specific items in-game, and 50% of all that revenue will be going into the shared revenue pool.