Blizzard has announced the first seven teams to take part in the Overwatch League [official site], the game’s official eSports league that’s due to launch later this year.
The teams will represent cities, almost like football teams, and will be owned by a mix of eSports guys and traditional sports business giants, including the head honcho at current NFL champions the New England Patriots. Yep, Overwatch is big business.
Here’s the full list:
- Boston, USA, owned by Robert Kraft, chairman and chief executive of the Kraft Group and the New England Patriots
- New York City, USA, owned by Jeff Wilpon, co-founder and partner of Sterling.VC and chief operating officer of the New York Mets
- Los Angeles, USA, owned Noah Whinston, chief executive of eSports organisation Immortals
- Miami and Orlando, USA, owned by Ben Spoont, chief executive and co-founder of eSports organisation Misfits Gaming
- San Francisco, USA, owned by Andy Miller, chairman and founder of NRG Esports
- Shanghai, China, owned by NetEase
- Seoul, South Korea, owned by Kevin Chou, co-founder of Kabam
It’s disappointing not to see any European teams in there yet, especially considering that Misfits Gaming (the Miami/Orlando team) are a Swedish outfit with a HQ in London. But this is just the first wave of teams, so expect more soon. There’s actually nine teams planned for Europe, including one in the UK.
I’m really excited for the Overwatch League. Partly because I just adore Overwatch, but partly because it brings something new to the eSports table. If your city has a team, it gives you a connection to that team: a reason to support them that is tangible, rather than you just happen to like the players on a particular squad (who tend to chop and change often). I could root for a London Overwatch team, I reckon, and go to see some of their matches.
Overwatch has struggled as an eSport so far, which is a shame given how watchable it is, so this should be the kick start it needs. What do you reckon?