Six new teams have been confirmed for the next season of the Overwatch League. A press release issued today announced that Blizzard’s most high-profile esports contest is growing, with a total of 20 teams competing for the 2019 championship.
The new additions do a lot to address the American imbalance offered by the current League. In the first season, a total of nine teams were based in cities in the USA, while just three teams – London Spitfire, Seoul Dynasty, and Shanghai Dragons – were based elsewhere. That was already set to change this season, of course, after two more teams – Atlanta and Guangzhou – were confirmed, but now there are several more international teams.
They come from Chengdu and Hangzhou (China), Paris (France), and Toronto and Vancouver (Canada), as well as one team from Washington D.C. While there is just the one new team from the USA, it is worth pointing out that a further two teams are from North America, meaning that 13 of the now 20 teams come from just two countries.
It would also seem that while Blizzard’s attempt to expand into China has been successful, it’s not been as good at making inroads into Europe. There were talks about appealing to football teams, in particular, in an effort to attract more large-scale sponsors for teams, especially given rumours of increasing buy-in costs for the League’s next season.
The new teams will be owned by (in the order listed above); HUYA, a chinese livestreaming platform; Bilibili, a Chinese online entertainment company; DM esports; OverActive Media, a Canadian esports and videogame company; Aquilini Group, the owners of Canadian NHL team the Vancouver Canucks; and Washington Esports Ventures.
We can’t wait for the #OWL2019 season!
Here are the 8 new teams joining the league! pic.twitter.com/zhkrNYDlko
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) September 7, 2018
None of the teams have been officially named at this point. The press release states that names, marks, and rosters will all “be announced soon by each franchise in conjunction with the Overwatch League.” Some time after that, we’ll learn the schedule for the newly-revamped 2019 League.