Overwatch League: Patriots, Dolphins Owners Spend Millions To Snag First Spots [Report]

Kris Holt

Overwatch League is set to kick off in a few months, and we might now have a slightly clearer idea of the kinds of names that will be fielding teams in Blizzard's inaugural event.

The owners of the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins, Robert Kraft and Stephen Ross respectively, have each spent millions to land a spot in the Overwatch League, according to a report citing sources close to Activision Blizzard. The company has been actively courting major sports brand owners to sign up for the event and, according to e-sports journalist Richard Lewis, those efforts have paid off with the company apparently striking deals with Kraft and Ross.

Bobby Kotick, the CEO of Activision Blizzard, is said to have landed these Overwatch League deals directly and he has been involved in making pitches to sports franchise owners. One of Lewis' sources claimed Kotick "spends about half of his working hours on this project alone and has been happy to finally land some big names for the league."

As part of the promotional push for Overwatch and the league, Blizzard has been talking up the standard of play in the game, such as claiming that around 75,000 of the game's 30 million player base are playing at a professional standard, which some have suggested is an overblown figure, but one designed to increase potential interest in Overwatch League from major brands.

Yet Blizzard has an ace card in its back pocket with a recent report from Morgan Stanley suggesting that Overwatch League can potentially generate $720 million per year, based on optimistic projections and e-sports trends. That report may have proven critical in convincing Kraft and Ross to sign up.

The e-sports owner who spoke with Lewis also claimed that Blizzard had not approached them or other legacy e-sports brands regarding an investment in Overwatch League. The owner said that Blizzard doesn't expect those brands and teams to have the kind of money they're seeking for a spot. A consequence of that is that should more sports franchise owners invest in Overwatch League spots, they may end up recruiting some of the best players from professional Overwatch teams.

Overwatch League is scheduled to begin in Q3 2017, perhaps as soon as July.

[Featured Image via Blizzard Entertainment]