ESports leagues are becoming big money investments, and the involvement of some major professional sports organizations are making it even bigger for fans and gamers alike. The most recent push for eSports leagues comes in the form of the fighting game Overwatch, and ESPN reported that a group led by Texas Rangers co-owner Neil Leibman are the latest people to sign up for the new league.
Overwatch City-Based Teams
The Overwatch league already had teams owned by Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots and Jeff Wilpon of the New York Mets. Now, the Texas Rangers co-owner has a team that will play their games out of Houston, Texas.
The geographical locations are what is making the Overwatch eSports league so exciting. Gamespot reported that the first games would take place in the Los Angeles area later this year, but after that, there will be home and away matchups, just like in real sports leagues. This travel and the aspect of home teams make Overwatch the very first international eSports league that is based on city-owned teams.
Neil Leibman and his group (OptTic Gaming) paid $20 million to enter the Overwatch eSports league. According to ESPN, a second Texas Rangers-connected person — oil magnate Kenneth Hersh — also invested to start an Overwatch team. His team based in Dallas. That team (Team EnVyUS) started off with an investment of $35 million.
The Growth of the Overwatch eSports League
Before Dallas and Houston gained their teams, Gamespot reported in August that seven city-based teams initially launched the Overwatch eSports league. Those teams were Boston, Los Angeles, New York, Miami-Orlando, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Seoul.
The owners of those teams include Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots (Boston), Jeff Wilpon of the New York Mets (New York), the CEO of Immortals (Los Angeles), Ben Spoont of Misfits Gaming (Miami-Orlando), Andy Miller of NRG Esports (San Francisco), NetEase (Shanghai) and Kevin Chou of Kabam (Seoul).
After that, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment purchased the second team located in Los Angeles, and Jack Etienne of Cloud9 bought a team for the city of London.
This league is also a significant investment and financial opportunity for the owners. While their buy-in was high, there are a lot of ways to make money in eSports and the Overwatch league itself. Owners will share ticket sales and advertising, as well as broadcast rights evenly. There will also be team-based content that gamers can buy within the video game, and 50 percent of that goes to the team owners.
The minimum salary to sign players for the Overwatch eSports league is $50,000 a year. That is just the minimum, as 17-year-old phenom Jay “Sinatraa” Won signed a $150,000 deal to join the San Francisco NRG team.
[Featured Image by Blizzard]