HUGE Overwatch eSports League Announced – Franchise Owners Include Robert Kraft, Mets Owner
Competitive gaming just took a monumental step in international eSports. Blizzard has confirmed the first seven cities participating in the new and exciting Overwatch League. The franchises for the league that will kick off later this year will be based in Boston, Los Angeles, Miami-Orlando, New York City, San Francisco, Seoul, and Shanghai. The first season the league will be based in Los Angeles, with the teams eventually developing their own local venues to set up “home and away” match-ups for future seasons.
“The Overwatch League will celebrate and reward our most accomplished players and give fans more opportunities to engage with each other,” Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said in a statement. “We’re excited to be working with leaders from eSports and traditional sports to celebrate our players and to establish the Overwatch League.”
The Overwatch League, which was first announced in November of last year, aims to become the eSports equivalent of an international version of the NBA, MLB or NFL. Coincidentally, several of the new team owners are owners of professional sports franchises.
- Boston: Robert Kraft, owner of NFL team the New England Patriots and chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group.
- Los Angeles: Noah Whinston, CEO of esports team organization Immortals.
- Miami-Orlando: Ben Spoont, CEO and co-founder of esports team organization Misfits, which is partnered with NBA team the Miami Heat.
- New York City: Jeff Wilpon, COO of MLB team the New York Mets and co-founder of Sterling.VC.
- San Francisco: Andy Miller, co-owner of NBA team the Sacramento Kings and founder of eSports team organization NRG Esports.
- Seoul: Kevin Chou, co-founder of Kabam, a mobile game developer and publisher.
- Shanghai: NetEase, a Chinese internet technology company that holds licenses in China for all current Blizzard games.
“It was really important to us that we find owners that had a proven capability of building a fanbase and growing and fostering fandom,” Nanzer said. “It’s a great mix of owners, a great mix of expertise. One of the things that’s really exciting for us at Blizzard is bringing all these great minds to the table to help build this league collaboratively with our owners.”