The Overwatch League could be the next big thing in the exploding popularity of esports. Activision Blizzard has announced its first seven team owners, focusing on experienced business owners around the world who are familiar with sports and/or esports.
The first team owners for the Overwatch League are:
- Robert Kraft, Chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group and the New England Patriots (Boston)
- Jeff Wilpon, Co-Founder and Partner of Sterling.VC and COO of the New York Mets (New York)
- Noah Whinston, CEO of Immortals (Los Angeles)
- Ben Spoont, CEO and Co-Founder of Misfits Gaming (Miami-Orlando)
- Andy Miller, Chairman and Founder of NRG Esports (San Francisco)
- NetEase (Shanghai)
- Kevin Chou, Co-founder of Kabam (Seoul)
“Overwatch is a game about a diverse group of international heroes who fight for an optimistic vision of the future, and the Overwatch League is an extension of that spirit,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We’re building this league for fans – esports fans, traditional sports fans, gaming fans – and 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.”
Purchasing an Overwatch team for the League is rumored to be very pricey. Team owners will receive advertising, ticketing, and broadcast rights revenue, as well as an equal share of league-wide revenue. Individual teams can generate local revenue in their home territory, and can monetize up to five amateur events each year.
“Misfits Gaming is thrilled to join the Overwatch League and represent the great cities of Miami and Orlando,” said Misfits Gaming CEO and Co-Founder Ben Spoont. “Competing as part of a major city-based esports league is something we’ve always wanted to do, and together with our partner the Miami Heat we’re very excited by the potential to build something amazing for our fans in the months and years ahead. This is going to be a great experience for teams and everyone who loves esports.”
The Overwatch League is the first major esports league with a focus on city-based ownership and branding. The inaugural season debuts this fall. Regular season matches will take place at a special arena in Lost Angeles. Future seasons are planned for structured home and away games as owners develop their own arenas.
Overwatch matches will be played each week on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The official schedule and tickets to live games will be announced at a later date.