Blizzard have announced the sale of the first seven Overwatch League teams. The owners represent a mix of organisations across esports and traditional sports, but one thing they have in common is lots of money.
For a full rundown of Blizzard's plans for the OWL and how it'll differ from existing esports leagues, here's everything we know about the Overwatch League.
The cities and their owners are as follows:
- Boston, USA: Robert Kraft, chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group and the New England Patriots
- New York, USA: Jeff Wilpon, co-founder and Partner of Sterling.VC and COO of the New York Mets
- Los Angeles, USA: Noah Whinston, CEO of Immortals
- Miami and Orlando, USA: Ben Spoont, CEO and co-founder of Misfits Gaming
- San Francisco, USA: Andy Miller, chairman and founder of NRG Esports
- Shanghai, China: NetEase
- Seoul, South Korea: Kevin Chou, co-founder of Kabam
This lines up pretty squarely with what ESPN reported a few days ago, with Misfits being the new announcement. Misfits’ interest was rumoured soon after the League was revealed, though, with a largely Swedish Overwatch squad and an HQ in the UK, their taking the Miami slot is a bit of a curveball. It’s good to see them join NRG and Immortals in representing grassroots esports alongside huge corporations looking to enter the market for the first time.
Blizzard’s press release is full of excited statements on that theme. Robert Kraft says: "We have been exploring the esports market for a number of years and have been waiting for the right opportunity to enter." He says Overwatch's "incredible success" and the League's strategy, "that clearly represents the future of esports," convinced him to sign up.
Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime emphasises the League's appeal to fans of both esports and traditional sports, as well as gaming in general. "We’re thrilled to have individuals and organizations who are as passionate about professional competition as we are, and who have extensive experience in all three fields, representing our first major international cities in the league."
Blizzard say they’re continuing to court interest in the Overwatch League and that these seven sales are just the first wave. Expect more teams to be confirmed joining the League between now and its launch later this year.