Blizzard’s high-profile in-house league for competitive Overwatch has teams everywhere from Houston to Shanghai and that league is continuing to expand as it will be adding eight more teams for its second season in 2019 according to an announcement on the official website.
The new teams don’t have official names, logos, or rosters yet but the Overwatch League’s 2019 season will include locations such as Chengdu and Hangzhou in China, Toronto and Vancouver in Canada, as well as Paris and Washington, D.C. These are in addition to the Atlanta and Guangzhou teams, which were announced back in August. This brings the total up to 20 Overwatch League teams with the possibility of more.
Though the teams haven’t been given names yet, Blizzard did disclose who will be backing them. They include the owner of the ice hockey team Vancouver Canucks, the Aquilini Group, for the Vancouver team, game-streaming platform HUYA for the Chengdu team, and online media company Bilibili for the Hangzhou team.
Traditional sports figures are no stranger to esports or The Overwatch League. The Boston Uprising is owned by the Kraft Group — the owners of the New England Patriots — and New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon owns the team New York Excelsior.
“We just capped an amazing inaugural Overwatch League season, crowning our first-ever champion in front of a sold-out crowd of dedicated and passionate fans,” said President and CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues, Pete Vlastelica.
“Now, as we look forward to the 2019 season and beyond, we’re adding eight new teams that will help us grow our league in important regions around the globe.”
The teams don’t actually play in their home cities during the season but instead play at Blizzard’s facility in Burbank, California. Blizzard aims to change that in the next few years, in hopes of turning the Overwatch League into something comparable to traditional sports. Competitive gaming as a whole is quickly making a name for itself, with dedicated arenas popping up in countries all around the world and massive tech companies like Nvidia leading the charge in creating esports boot camps.
That said, the Overwatch League should have no problem with their goal of expanding if they continue to bring on new talent at such a rapid rate. Hopefully, we’ll get to see the names, faces, and branding of these new competitors soon.
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