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It looks like Canada is set to have a home team to root for during the second season of The Overwatch League, with the fourth slot in the ongoing six-team expansion going to Toronto. The league plans to have two additional teams nailed down before September, so expect to hear a couple similar announcements in the weeks ahead.
Following a successful first season drawing millions of viewers and even getting a championship broadcast on ESPN, Overwatch League is looking to grow in the coming months. The plan was to add six new teams to the league's roster before moving forward, bringing the total number of programs from 12 to 18. We recently reported that teams in both Atlanta, Georgia, and Guangzhou, China, were finalized, with a Paris team bid wrapping up. According to a report from ESPN, Toronto, Canada, is taking the fourth expansion slot.
According to the initial report, the bid for Toronto has entered final negotiations between Activision Blizzard and Michael Kimel who, along with his family and investors including OverActive Media, aim to pick up the Toronto slot for $35 million. For those 'Mericans who aren't super tuned in to our neighbors to the north, Kimel is a bigtime Canadian entrepreneur and OverActive Media is tied to Splyce, an esports organization.
As noted in our previous story, teams are going for quite a bit more money in season two than they did for the inaugural season. The initial batch of teams went for around $20 million a pop while these new franchises are selling for nearly double that figure. That goes to show that folks see Overwatch League as an organization, and future, worth investing in.
With four of the second season's basically in the bag, now we're curious to earn who will be taking the final two spots. We've got quite a few teams in the U.S. now, and it's great to see Canada come on board. We're hopeful the final two teams will come from somewhere in Europe or Asia-Oceania, as it would be great to see more nations have a local squad to pull for in the second season of competition.
As for when news of additional expansions will roll out, we figure it can't be too far over the horizon. Free agency for these expansions is set to begin on Sept. 9, so we figure teams will want to be established before rosters start taking shape.
We're also interested to see how the second season of Overwatch League will change in comparison to the first. Activision Blizzard is known for learning, adjusting and growing quickly, so we're curious if any major structural changes will pop up. Then again, the first season turned out pretty great, so maybe they'll just aim to readjust seasons/brackets to accommodate the extra teams and stay the course for the time being.