Activision Blizzard has just announced the first seven teams and partners for the Overwatch League. According to Mashable, the first seven cities participating are Boston, Los Angeles, Miami-Orlando, New York, San Francisco, Seoul, and Shanghai. The Overwatch League is Blizzard’s ambitious attempt to link professional Overwatch teams to cities around the globe. This was first announced in November last year.
With today’s announcement, it is officially confirmed that investors have purchased franchise spots in Overwatch League. Team owners come from traditional sports, esports, gaming, and technology backgrounds.
Among the new owners are (Boston) Robert Kraft, owner of NFL team New England Patriots and CEO of Kraft Group; (Los Angeles) Noah Whinston, CEO of esports team organization, Immortals; (Miami-Orlando) Ben Spoont, CEO and co-founder of esports team organization, Misfits; (New York City) Jeff Wilpon, COO of MLB team the New York Mets and co-founder of Sterling.VC; (San Francisco) Andy Miller, co-owner of NBA team, Sacramento Kings, and founder of esports team organization, NRG Esports; (Seoul) Kevin Chou, co-founder of mobile game developer and publisher, Kabam; and (Shanghai) NetEase, a Chinese internet technology company that holds licenses in China for all Blizzard games.
Blizzard revealed that the first season of the Overwatch League would take place in Los Angeles. According to Variety, this is because the team owners need time to “develop their local venues for formal home and away play in future seasons.” There are also plans to announce more teams and owners before the start of the first season later this year.
“Our goal is to launch a global league and that means having teams in all the major cities around the world,” Overwatch League Commissioner Nate Nanzer, said. “We’re in active conversations with potential owners for cities in Europe, Latin America, other regions, and hope to have more details on that in the coming months.”
Overwatch League will feature six-on-six team play and will give pro gamers an opportunity to earn salaries and benefits instead of depending only on prize pool payouts and sponsorship deals. However, Activision Blizzard has yet to provide more details on the player selection process.
According to Activision Blizzard, all league-wide net revenue generated through broadcast rights deals, advertising sales, and ticketing will be distributed equally among each team owner. Moreover, they will retain all local revenues generated in their home territory and venue up to a set amount each year. A percentage of the extras above the set amount will be split among the league’s shared revenue pool. Overwatch teams will also have a license to operate and monetize a maximum of five amateur events in their respective home territory each year.
Team rosters, team names, and schedules for the first season of Overwatch League will be announced in the coming months.
[Featured Image by Activision Blizzard]