NetEase and Kabam join Blizzard’s star-studded global Overwatch League

The ESPN report earlier this week suggesting that Blizzard has several agreements from big-name sports-affiliated venture capitalists to host Overwatch League teams across the US and East Asia has now been confirmed and embellished by Blizzard itself, with the addition of NetEase, Kabam, and Misfits Gaming. Here’s the whole list:

Robert Kraft, Chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group and the New England Patriots (Boston)
Jeff Wilpon, Co-Founder and Partner of Sterling.VC and COO of the New York Mets (New York)
Noah Whinston, CEO of Immortals (Los Angeles)
Ben Spoont, CEO and Co-Founder of Misfits Gaming (Miami-Orlando)
Andy Miller, Chairman and Founder of NRG Esports (San Francisco)
NetEase (Shanghai)
Kevin Chou, Co-founder of Kabam (Seoul)

We’ve previously reported on the structure of the League and its $20M ante.

The Overwatch League, slated to begin later this year, is a unique opportunity for owners and players. As the first major esports league to feature a city-based structure, the league will drive development of local fan bases. 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. A full schedule and information about ticket sales will be announced closer to launch.

The league will create value for team owners through advertising, ticketing and broadcast rights revenues, with teams receiving an equal share of all league-wide net revenues. Teams will also keep all local revenues generated through their home territory and venue up to a set amount each year, unprecedented in esports; above the set amount, a percentage is sent to the league’s shared revenue pool. In addition, teams will have a license to operate and monetize up to five amateur events in their home territory each year, and to benefit from the sale of league-affiliated fan items in Overwatch, with 50% of the revenues going into the net shared revenue pool for all teams.

The Overwatch League will also provide advertisers and sponsors with opportunities that are unparalleled in the esports space, with global fan bases not found in traditional sports, along with better targeting and analytics than traditional forms of advertising. Last year, 285 million people worldwide watched esports. The quickly-growing esports audience also includes some of the hardest to reach and most sought after demographics, with a share of millennials two to three times higher than any of the ‘Big Four’ US sports.

In other Overwatch news today,

  • A Brazilian player successfully registered a National Church of Hanzo in an attempt to demonstrate the absurdity and exploitability of the well-meaning system. Also to pick on Hanzo mains.
  • Dataminers have dug up references to new summer games content, likely coming in August.
  • Update 2.15 hit the console versions of the game. Don’t get too excited; it’s just bugfixes, not Doomfist.
  • Would you go for an Overwatch Netflix series? We would too! Alas, this trailer for one is just a mockup, not a thing that is really happening.

Source: Press release
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5 Comments on "NetEase and Kabam join Blizzard’s star-studded global Overwatch League"

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David Goodman

Ultimately, i’m happy that this is progressing well, or appears to be. I’ve always been supportive over e-sports / e-competitions (whatever your hangups over the terminology) being made more official and widespread. And the way to do that is to get the Big Money in it.

Right now, even the highest LOL / DOTA players are making – in sports terms – chump change. Even rookies get more than even the best player.

So this is a step in the right direction, and with pressure FROM this Big Money, Blizzard will have to deliver. Having billions of dollars on the line will be a lot more … impactful… than someone’s $15 subscription fee, or box price. :)

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Greaterdivinity

That’s sure a helluva lot of money flying about…Blizzard is going to have to deliver some pretty huge results to keep them on the hook. And honestly…I’m a bit skeptical that they can do that.

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Melissa McDonald

Kraft is involved? Get ready for underinflated balls. :)

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KumiKaze

I still think Overwatch League needs at least 3 more teams, with at least 2 being from Europe. Hopefully it won’t be another 4 months or so before we get more updates on the league.

Overwatch definitely needs some type of series. Blizzard’s CGI team is top notch and would love it in that style, but I did really like the anime style of the Doomfist origin video.

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agemyth 😩

Well, I guess enough people with money think Blizzard is onto something here. Good luck Overwatch League.

wpDiscuz