Blizzard has named the seven cities that will host its first batch of Overwatch League teams and detailed the new owners of each regionally-housed team in the process.
The company had said previously that it wants The Overwatch League to mirror the sustainability and accessibility of traditional sports leagues, and that sentiment seems to be reflected in the partnerships Blizzard has forged so far.
In addition to the eSports and video game-facing companies that have invested in Blizzard’s competitive initiative, a number of athletics team owners have bought into The Overwatch League as well.
The cities housing each of the seven teams, and the owner of each, are as follows:
- Boston: Robert Kraft (Chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group and the New England Patriots)
- Los Angeles: Noah Whinston (CEO of Immortals)
- Miami-Orlando: Ben Spoont (CEO and co-founder of Misfits Gaming)
- New York: Jeff Wilpon (Co-Founder and Partner of Sterling.VC and COO of the New York Mets)
- San Francisco: Andy Miller (Chairman and founder of NRG eSports)
- Seoul: Kevin Chou (Co-founder of Kabam)
- Shanghai: NetEase (Chinese technology company)
Blizzard notes that each owner was selected not only for their proven ability to manage and grow a team, but also for their personal relationship with each of the league's first cities. With the establishment of city-based teams, Blizzard is hoping to foster local support for each and rally regional fan-bases for each team.
The company has also offered an early glimpse at the league’s unique revenue structure that will see team members earn an equal share of league-wide net revenue and keep funds generated through local events, rather than rely on tournament winnings as earnings. More details on both revenue distribution and the first seven teams themselves can be found on the league's website.
UPDATE: Since publishing, The Overwatch League has brought a handful of new teams into the fold and finalized its season 1 roster. The remaining teams and their owners are as follows:
- Philadelphia: Comcast Spectacor (owner of the Philadelphia Flyers)
- Houston: eSports team Optic Gaming
- Dallas: eSports team Team Envy, with investor Hersh Interactive Group
- London: Jack Etienne and eSports team Cloud9
- Los Angeles: Stan and Josh Kroenke (Kroenke Sports & Entertainment)