Today, Activision Blizzard unveiled the first seven city based teams to become part of the Overwatch League.
Five coastal US cities will get teams, along with Shanghai and Seoul. Here's a breakdown of their locations as well as their founders:
- 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)
The Overwatch League represents Blizzard's ambition to create a truly global eSports scene, and one which rivals the magnitude of traditional sports like football. The first season will take place exclusively in an eSports arena based in Los Angeles, to give the teams time to put their infrastructures in place.
"As the first major esports league to feature a city-based structure, the league will drive development of local fan bases. For the first season of the league, regular-season matches will be played at an esports arena in the Los Angeles area, as teams develop their local venues for formal home and away play in future seasons. Matches will be played each Thursday, Friday and Saturday. A full schedule and information about ticket sales will be announced closer to launch."
While this all sounds exciting, a great number of teams pulled out from the Overwatch League citing uncertainty in its future as a growing eSport, as well as the high buy in price - reportedly in the region of an eye-watering $20 million! What's more, current tournaments aren't pulling in the tremendous viewer numbers Blizzard expected, with some professional players even practicing other games in their spare time just in case everything goes under.
So, although the Overwatch League is an attempt to stabilise Overwatch eSports as a whole, it remains to be seen if it can deliver on its grand vision to bring eSports to the mainstream market.
At the moment, it's unclear how many other teams will be joining the Overwatch League, although we expect European cities to join in the coming months. We also have no information regarding the start date for the first season of the League, but it's set to debut later this year.
If you're after all the information regarding the Overwatch League, our Overwatch League guide has got you covered.