Blizzard has announced today the first seven team owners and partners for Overwatch League. The purpose of this plan is to bring the popular multi-player online game mainstream with city-based teams that mirror conventional sports franchises.
And those owners include some big names from the world of traditional sports. First and foremost is Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, who bought the rights for a Boston-based Overwatch team. Jeff Wilpon, the COO of the New York Mets, will be fielding a New York City franchise.
Who else is on the list? Noah Whinston, CEO of Immortals is bringing a team to L.A.; Ben Spoont, CEO and co-founder of Misfits Gaming brings a team to Orlando; Andy Miller, CEO and chairman of NRG Sports will bring a team to San Francisco. And finally rounding out the first round of team owners, Blizzard’s Chinese partner NetEase, owned by Kevin Chou co-founder of Kabam. Blizzard does have future plans to add more teams in the near future.
According to an ESPN report, Blizzard is looking for a $20 million per team buy in the initial phases, with no revenue sharing until 2021. Blizzard declined to discuss the rumored buy-in, but noted that teams will have a big opportunity. “We did a lot of research into traditional sports, and how do traditional sports teams make money, and what we saw is that in traditional sports teams make money because they have a venue and host home games and sell tickets and merchandise and all that, and that’s completely missing from e-sports,” he says.
Nanzer stated that Blizzard hopes that anchoring the teams to specific cities will help attract fans through local allegiances to their hometowns. Andy Miller, the owner of the newly founded San Fransisco team, agreed, saying that the concept of a city-based pro e-sport league was “the biggest selling point on the idea of joining up in the league.”
Source Material: The Verge