Set to kick off later this year, the Overwatch League includes six teams from six American cities: Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Miami/Orlando, and San Francisco. Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, will head up the Boston team, while New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon will own his city’s team. The Los Angeles, Miami/Orlando, and San Francisco teams are owned by Noah Whinston, Ben Spoont, and Andy Miller, who run the esports organizations Immortals, Misfits Gaming, and NRG esports, respectively.
A second Los Angeles team has also been announced, owned by Stan and Josh Kroenke. Stan Korenke is the owner of the newly relocated Los Angeles Rams football team.
In Shanghai, an Overwatch team will be owned by the technology company NetEase, while Kabam co-founder Kevin Chou will own a team in Seoul. Chou left the mobile gaming company a few weeks ago after its remaining assets were sold to FoxNext.
“As esports enthusiasts, we’ve always seen Seoul as the place to be for world-class competitive gaming,” said Chou in the announcement. “We’re very honored to represent the birthplace of esports as owners of the Overwatch League team in Seoul and [are] excited to work closely with the most passionate and enthusiastic gaming community in the world.”
Korea also currently has a very large competitive League of Legends community, and its League Champions Korea regular season is currently underway — you can view matches on the official YouTube channel.
Lastly, a team has been announced in London, owned by the Cloud9 esports organization. It’s currently the only team in the league from Europe.
“As the first major esports league to feature a city-based structure, [the Overwatch League] will drive development of local fan bases,” said Activision Blizzard. “For the first season of the league, regular-season matches will be played at an esports arena in the Los Angeles area, as teams develop their local venues for formal home and away play in future seasons. Matches will be played each Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.”
It remains to be seen if only seven teams will be enough to garner local fan bases, or if the league plans to expand to additional cities in the future, but it’s interesting to see competitive gaming take a page out of traditional sports’ playbook.
Overwatch is out now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. You can try out new hero Doomfist on the PC version’s Public Test Region.
Updated: Added information on second Los Angeles team and London team.
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