Activision Blizzard has announced the first city-based teams for the Overwatch League, their new professional esports league for the hero shooter. This step is seeking to take the game into city-based territory of major professional sports like the NFL, but in this case with a much more global flair.
Overwatch League Cities and Owners
The first seven cities and owners are:
Boston: Robert Kraft, Chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group and the New England Patriots
New York: Jeff Wilpon, Co-Founder and Partner of Sterling.VC and COO of the New York Mets
Los Angeles: Noah Whinston, CEO of Immortals
Miami-Orlando: Ben Spoont, CEO and Co-Founder of Misfits Gaming
San Francisco: Andy Miller, Chairman and Founder of NRG Esports
Seoul: Kevin Chou, Co-Founder of Kabam
Blizzard plans to expand the amount of teams. There isn’t a set number of final teams in mind but with traditional sports leagues featuring somewhere around 20-30 teams, it’s a good bet they will expand by more than a few.
The Overwatch League is planned as a forever league (Overwatch for life?) and will begin later this year with regular season matches going down in a Los Angeles arena for the first season. Down the road they will see the more traditional home/away matches in the teams’ respective cities. Overwatch League will hold back new heroes, maps, and balance changes until Blizzard properly gauges them.
The league will launch with revenue sharing for the teams and an ability to generate a capped amount of local revenue, monetize 5 amateur events a year and take up to 50% of revenue from fan items with the rest going to a shared pool. This kind of balanced out approach to league building is crucial when getting something off the ground. There is a minimum base salary for Overwatch League players, though Blizzard did not share this figure. There is no player union as of yet, but bet on that happening before long.
Thoughts on the new league? Planning to tune in? Let us know in the comments!
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