The Overwatch League looks to be drawing the attention of even more existing sports franchises, with parent organizations of both the New York Mets and New England Patriots reportedly stepping to join the fray. With their inclusion, that puts the current roster of teams at six for the upcoming esports league.
It's not often ESPN reports on video games, so our ears tend to perk up when they start talking about esports and, in particular, Overwatch. According to their latest report, Blizzard has inked agreements to form six teams for the upcoming Overwatch League so far, most recently adding New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Sterling Equities, which runs the New York Mets. While neither organization has provided comment on the formation of teams, the original report says that confirmation comes from multiple sources.
All told, that makes six professional Overwatch teams on the roster including four from North America. It looks like teams are locked down in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Boston. In Asia, teams from Shanghai and Seoul are ready to roll.
As was reported earlier, the buy-in to form a team within Overwatch League is $20 million, which can be paid out over time. That's a pretty hefty investment, so we doubt any of these teams would be forming if the owners didn't feel confident that Overwatch is here to stay and that the league itself has a strong future.
For those keeping track, the Los Angeles team is known as the Immortals and the squad from San Francisco is simply called NRG Esports. Seriously, guys, we've got to reach some kind of common ground on this whole naming thing. I mean, what's the NRG Esports mascot going to look like? We're also not big fans of having a team name branded like that but, hey, if you pay $20 million to form a team, I guess you can name it whatever the heck you want.
According to the report, the Overwatch League is set to go live during the third fiscal quarter of 2017, which means we shouldn't expect to see anything get off the ground until sometime early next year.
Apparently, there's concern revolving around the league at these early stages, specifically tied to the Overwatch League financials. The original report states that sports owners and investment organizations have been a bit wary, as the $20 million buy-in is a pretty hefty figure with reportedly no revenue sharing until 2021. There's also a 25 percent fee that would be paid to Blizzard if a team is sold at a later date.
Again, nobody is officially commenting on these figures at this time, including Blizzard and the team owners. We're definitely curious to see how this evolves. Blizzard was able to get six teams on the roster pretty quickly and, with Overwatch only seeming to grow in popularity, we imagine a few more will come trickling in before the league gets up and running. If they're able to pull this off and have a successful first season, we imagine things will only continue to grow from there.