Science

Activision Blizzard Announces First Team Owners for 'Overwatch' Esports League

Activision Blizzard Announces First Team Owners for 'Overwatch' Esports League

"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 worldwide cities in the league". Our view is that we're building a forever league and looking for partners who want to build something long-term with us.

On a business scale, Overwatch League plans to share revenue generated from league-wide advertising, ticketing and broadcasting rights - along with all locally generated revenue - with the participating teams.

The news that Activision is planning to franchise Call of Duty teams for the CoD World League has been met with a mixed response from the community. Nanzer said he could not comment on buy-in prices at this time. A percentage of revenue more than that threshold will go into a shared revenue pool with 50% of income from league-affiliated fan item sales.

"We're thinking long here", Mr. Kraft said.

The Overwatch League is set to begin with an abbreviated season this year, and now has seven teams announced including Misfits (Miami-Orlando), NRG Esports (San Francisco), Immortals (Los Angeles), Robert Kraft's Boston team, Sterling Ventures' New York team, Netease's Shanghai team, and Kevin Chou's Seoul team.




"We haven't really gotten into the details of the operating costs, but when you look at the way we structured the league, the operating costs should be a lot lower than what you'd see in other, traditional sports", Bobby Kotick, Activision Blizzard CEO, said during the same interview.

The Overwatch League is being built to last.

Cash grab or not, an established competition like Overwatch League will clearly have a huge impact on how people watch and perceive eSports on a global scale. However, it's important to note that Riot only publishes League of Legends (and is backed by the might of Tencent), and Activision-Blizzard is also a titan of the industry, so these numbers alone do not tell the whole story. In April this year Blizzard announced it had hit 30 million registered players - jumping up from 20 million in January 2017.

By switching focus from private, regionless teams to locally based outfits, Blizzard hopes it can change the nature of eSports by making it more familiar to traditional sports fans.

Although the teams are global, the league will hold all first-season matches at a Los Angeles-area esports arena to provide time for teams to develop their home venues. Thankfully, due to the nature of eSports, this won't affect how many people can watch the match. The esports audience also includes some of the hardest to reach and most sought after demographics, with millennials tuning in at rates two to three times higher than baseball, basketball, football and hockey. Today, the first seven teams and their owners have been revealed and they are a doozy.


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