Overwatch League expands again with teams from London and LA

Blizzard continues raking in the big bucks for its fledgling Overwatch League, adding two new teams to its roster: a London team purchased by Cloud9 founder Jack Etienne and a Los Angeles team picked up by Stan and Josh Kroenke, well-known to sports fans here in the US for having their fingers in multiple meatpies, and by meatpies I mean actual sports teams like the LA Rams. Etienne and the Kroenkes will join venture capitalists including reps and owners of the New England Patriots, New York Mets, Immortals, Misfits Gaming, NRG Esports, Netease, and Kabam, which superficially secures the Leagues’ future on three continents.

We’ve previously reported on the structure of the League and its absurd $20M ante, which at least one gaming industry analyst firm has deemed unlikely to achieve much success, given its assessment that Overwatch is difficult to watch, unapproachable, expensive, in competition with Amazon’s Twitch, and on a collision course with antitrust law. Whee. Major League Baseball is also disputing Blizzard’s right to OWL logo.

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17 Comments on "Overwatch League expands again with teams from London and LA"

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KumiKaze

The MLB is no longer disputing the logo. They had until July 26th to file it’s complaint, but didn’t. Either the MLB just dropped it, or Blizzard and the MLB came to some agreement. In both scenarios it’s unlikely anything will happen in the future. I don’t think anything would have came of the MLB’s complaint anyway. The NBA, PGA, and MLG all have very similar logos to MLB.

I’m glad Europe finally got a team, but I wish that other LA team would have either been in the Midwest or in Europe.

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Sorenthaz

Interesting that C9 actually bought into it. Thought they were one of the esports orgs that initially had backed out along orgs like Dignitas and TSM.

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Sally Bowls

Sigh.

1) about the too old comments, this article is not about watching eSports this article is about making money off of eSports. Robert Kraft (NE Patriots) is 76 years old, born prior to the US entry into WW II. Non-millennials, people who are born before there was widespread electrification, telephones or automobiles are also doing this.

2) “absurd $20M ante” BK quotes Robert Kraft saying his best investment ever was the 180M he spent for the NEP (currently worth about 1,500M) Let’s do some totally made up example. Say you think that long term there is a 80% chance it will fail and be worth 0, and 10% its worth 200M and 10% it’s worth 1,000M. That is a high likelihood it is going to fail and still worth doing. ( And of course, if it does fail, the taxpayers will help him recoup millions.) Venture capitalists expect 70-90% of the businesses they invest in to fail. They just want to make sure there is a huge upside if they do have a hit. Esports may fail, but one can make the case for a quite profitable upside to a first mover advantage.

At the end of the day, one can decide who one thinks is making better financial decisions, the billionaires at ATVI and its league or the financial analysts at fansites.

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Melissa McDonald

What I DON’T think you are actually saying is that Kraft is a big fan of eSports and actively watches it.

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Sally Bowls

Yes. “OMG these young’uns today!” – which is my reaction – is perfectly valid for the “44 trillion hours viewed” articles. But this is about making money, which I assume he does understand.

P.S.: a tad snide but one could argue that numerous, young and of dubious wisdom, is a pretty desirable customer demographic.

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Armsbend

FOMO

Fear of Missing Out

He probably set up a play project for one of his grandkids for the 20M. But with his name attached to it it gets insta press. It will get a mention on NFL broadcasts – so 7 million viewers on average. Christ Pats fans are so absurdly fanatical they’ll probably watch Overwatch just to support Kraft. Beantown!

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Armsbend

Robert Kraft just bought the first team airplane for the Patriots @$200M. So buying a thing that could be something or not be something cost him 1/10 of the transportation ship alone of his NFL team – only needed for maybe 10 weekends or so.

If you look at the first buyers in successful sports franchises you’d know $20M is nothing for big money.

And how is this even approaching anti-trust? And why are they competing with Twitch? Blizzard is one of Twitch’s biggest partners. This article either is making incorrect assumptions or leaving out key parts.

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silverlock

Did you just call the rams an actual sports team? Clearly you’ve never seen them play.

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mike foster

how do i make a fire emoji

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Vinnie travi

I will never understand this, just I can’t figure out why so many watch people on Youtube play games. Weird

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Armsbend

I’ve gotten better at MOBAs watching high level play.

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Slaasher

“We’ve previously reported on the structure of the League and its absurd $20M ante…”

Clearly it’s not as absurd as many of us thought with 7 of them onboard this early. The NHL started with less

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Melissa McDonald

There are seminal moments in one’s lifetime when one realizes that one has grown up. Become an adult. No longer hip.

I believe this is one such moment for me, because I absolutely do not “get” eSports.

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Armsbend

I stream it to my tv when I’m not watching tv. I enjoy esports as background when I’m doing other things. It’s just mindless fun.

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Greaterdivinity

Honestly, I think it’s more of a, “It’s not me, it’s you” thing vs. a “we’re old” thing. I’m in the same boat, but more with Overwatch vs. stuff like EVO or League or CS:GO, which I still enjoy watching.

Sadly, don’t have the time for a long post now, but I think it’s very much a different type of reception/reaction to more organic, bottom up esports scenes vs. very planned/guided, top down esports like we’re seeing with this. Top down doesn’t really work super well, as we’ve seen with multiple games that pushed esports heavily despite a lack of organic interest in it, and ended up seeing minimal success, if any (GW2 has since abandoned esports IIRC, Planetside 2 esports was a disaster, WoW arena esports was a disaster etc.) It’s trying to fit square peg into a round hole. It’s possible, with a ton of brute force and some luck, but it’s very much an uphill battle.

Benjamin Northrup
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Benjamin Northrup

Yeah it feels Cynical. Its like how “speedrun” games, or games designed around what they see speed runners like, are hardly ever the games done at GDQ, or the current backlash against SFV even though Capcom is pushing it so hard. when a company mentions that they want to get into “esports” I know its most likely going to fail as an Esport. look at LoL, CS:GO and Starcraft, basically THE esports, and none were made specifically to court such an audience (admittedly one didn’t exist, but still).

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Scratches

Cool.

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