Since the release of Overwatch®, more than 30 million players have immersed themselves in a dynamic vision of Earth’s future that celebrates diverse heroes and colorful communities across the world.
It is with pleasure that here, on present-day Earth, we introduce the cities that will become the physical backdrops and cultural inspirations for the first seven professional teams to enter the Overwatch League™.
In the United States, the city of Boston has been claimed by Robert Kraft, chairman and CEO of The Kraft Group and the New England Patriots. Two hundred miles to the south, Jeff Wilpon, cofounder and partner at Sterling.VC and COO of the New York Mets, will be writing a new chapter in New York City’s storied sports history with the Overwatch League team for the Big Apple—Boston’s traditional rival. Kraft and Wilpon are best known for their leadership in professional American football and baseball, respectively, and they are both incredibly excited to apply their experience to a new frontier.
Along with these owners from the traditional sports world, we welcome three established esports organizations to the Overwatch League who will represent four more major metropolises in the USA. San Francisco has been snapped up by Andy Miller, the chairman and founder of NRG Esports, and Los Angeles has been secured by Noah Whinston, the CEO of Immortals. On the other side of the country, Misfits CEO and cofounder Ben Spoont has locked down sunny Miami and nearby Orlando. Teams from NRG, Immortals, and Misfits have demonstrated significant dedication in competitive Overwatch, and the organizations behind them are welcome additions to the Overwatch League.
Across the Pacific, the city of Shanghai in China will be entering the fray, led by Chinese internet technology company NetEase. Rounding out the first seven is South Korean capital city Seoul, the spiritual home of competitive gaming, and its team owner Kevin Chou, cofounder of Kabam. Given the enthusiasm for Overwatch and commitment to esports in both China and South Korea, it is an honor to welcome these two vibrant cities to the Overwatch League.
“Overwatch is a game about a diverse group of international heroes who fight for an optimistic vision of the future, and the Overwatch League is an extension of that spirit,” said Blizzard Entertainment CEO and cofounder Mike Morhaime. “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 international cities in the league.”
We also have some additional details to share about the way our teams will compete in the Overwatch League and how they will interact with the player and spectator communities in their home cities.
To allow teams time to prepare venues in their cities for proper home-and-away play in the future, Season 1’s regular-season matches will be played at an esports arena in the Los Angeles area in the United States. The games will be played each Thursday, Friday, and Saturday during the season, and more information about the schedule and ticket sales will be announced closer to the Overwatch League’s launch.
For those who aspire to show off their Overwatch skills within their local communities, we’re happy to let you know that each team will have a license to run up to five amateur events in their home territory each year. These events would complement the online Open Division as well as regional Contenders and other mid-tier leagues, and provide more occasions to celebrate talent in each community as more teams join the Overwatch League.
We’re keen on making sure that teams will be able to share in the Overwatch League’s overall financial success and be rewarded for investing in their home cities. With that in mind, teams will all receive an equal share of net revenues from league-wide advertising, ticketing, and broadcast rights deals; at the same time, they will keep all local revenues up to a set amount each year (past that amount, a portion of the local revenues will go back into the league-wide shared pool for teams). Overwatch players will be able to support the collective teams via special in-game items, as 50% of the revenues from these items will flow into the shared revenue pool. These arrangements will help ensure that teams have the resources to establish and grow their local Overwatch communities for years to come.
We look forward to sharing more information soon regarding additional Overwatch League teams in cities around the world, as well as full details about the league’s rules and structure.
The Overwatch League is on track to begin later this year—to stay up-to-date with Overwatch League announcements and news, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, and be sure to bookmark overwatchleague.com. You can also sign up to receive news via email from the league and teams you are interested in following.