Overwatch League allegedly has a $20 million price tag to enter

Remember how Blizzard started to focus MLG in on Overwatch as an e-sports venue at the same time well-known teams started fleeing the scene? What was all that about? It seems it might be as simple as money; according to teams looking to take part in Blizzard’s heavily hyped Overwatch League, teams need to buy in to the tune of $20 million. That’s without any promises of profit sharing until 2021 and with no real certainty about the long-term. In other words, it’s just not a good investment for the teams.

Blizzard’s official response is that certain parties may be spreading misinformation about the fees and contract terms to aid in negotiatons, and the studio remains committed to supporting the game as an e-sports platform. Of course, it’s going to prove rather impossible to make any headway in that field if no one actually wants to get in on the competitive scene in the first place, so we’ll see if those professional teams were a blip on the radar or bespoke a larger trend.

Source: ESPN, Kotaku
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Robert Mann

Buy in for $20 million, in a relatively unknown market, with no real promise of financial return… and where most of those who might want to get in don’t have that kinda cash?

Yep, sounds like business executives.

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Sally Bowls

“In other words, it’s just not a good investment for the teams.” is just an opinion. FWIW, an opinion I would agree with. But there are people spending big bucks on the other side. In ten years, I am 100% certain that one side will be quite expensively wrong. It is less clear, which side of the eSports debate shall be wrong.

Bobby K told the story of his friend Kraft spending $120M for the Patriots and what a good deal that was. If ten years from now, advertisers are rushing to advertise to millennials and the next generation on eSports, then $20M may be cheap. If eSports is a financial issue that the readers here are correct about, then $20M is an expensive mistake.

I don’t understand some of the comments below: isn’t the $20m for the league membership? How much an NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS … team is worth is not that dependent or correlates with the payout of the Superbowl to the team or players or their salary.

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Lights and Music

Considering 5 teams have dropped out of the OW league in the last month or so, this is super risky imo

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Scratches

This is clearly a Bobby Kotick want. He wants it so bad he (allegedly?) recruited the NFL franchise owners himself; risk is irrelevant to the company at that point

venatis
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venatis

Maybe I’m seriously out of the loop but how much do people who enter these leagues generally make when they win? Is e-sports that big of an earner for people that they have teams with $20 million to spare?

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Nathan Aldana

Not really. Shit, even league of legends, the biggest game with the biggest potential payout from ads and viewers and prizes is only a 1.8 million entry fee. Thats why 20 mil is so ludicrous a sum.

they are literally asking for a buy in over 10 times bigger than LEAGUE OF GODDAMN LEGENDS

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Annoyed badger

the largest prize pool in esports is Dota, The International. The 2016 TI had a total prize pool of just over 20million USD< with a first prize of 9million USD.

The next biggest are, I think, also dota, with The Majors, the Shanghai Major has a total pool of 3million USD with a first place prize of 1.1million USD.

Of course there are other income streams than just prize money, ads, sponsorship, twitch subs, etc.

Godnaz
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Godnaz

We at Blizzard are always looking for new and interesting ways to cultivate and foster engaging and compelling competition within our game’s communities. So we figured, why not up the stakes? We’re increasing the cost this time and adding a new dimension of incentives that promises to eliminate almost all of the competition.. and we mean all of the competition. We hope that bringing the best and most highly skilled talent in Overwatch to the MLG will give pvp gaming the exposure it deserves and the compelling drama that it can create. As you can tell from our announcement, we’ve already got your attention and are quickly on our way to provide that drama. We know you’ll be watching and appreciate the support you, the filthy peasant gamer has provided us all these years and we’re looking forward to providing more ways to gamble on losing more of our community.

/s

miol
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miol

Billionaire through sports licensing fees approves! ;P

PF1-Top-Brrernie-Ecclestone_3182848.jpg
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FreecczLaw

I would wait and see before crying wolf. In the end though you have two sides that are just as greedy and I don’t really care if Blizzard is the one with the better end of the deal, they are the company that made the games after all. Unlike teams like TSM which was basically made from a game like LoL and now is pushing for bullshit like franchising just to keep it all to themselves and make sure noone else can do the same journey they did. For developers like Blizzard this is a marketing tool and they should treat it as such.

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jay

The issue is that bliz has to compete with the other e-sports out there to draw people in.. and they are pricing themselves out of competition. It’s not a if you build it they will come type of scenario.

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FreecczLaw

Except we don’t know what the price is yet and if it will end up a problem even. Not to mention like I said this is a marketing tool to begin with and considering the position of OW in its genre Blizzard can afford to make sure they call the shots if they want to. Of course you will have orgs cry about it but others will replace them. This is just a way for both sides to put pressure on the other. Again though we should start by waiting for official information instead of speculate based on rumours.

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Danny Smith

Breaking News: Company thats monumentally thirsty for esports bux but keeps shitting the bed in esports has shat the bed in esports. Again.

So how many more decades before Blizzard gives up the ghost on this one?

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Tanek

One thing that stands out to me in the response, unless I missed it, is that they don’t deny the $20 million fee. Seems like it would be the first thing they would want to do if that info is incorrect. And that is the story here, the thing I suspect most readers will focus on, so I wonder what misinformation is being spread if that isn’t it.

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jay

Wouldn’t surprise me what so ever. If they are charging 20 mil per team, is the winning pot going to be 200m?

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Scratches

It wouldn’t surprise me if it’d be more like just 200k. Outside of The International, it’d technically still be the largest esports payout….

It also sounds like it’ll be an annual league, just like the NFL or EPL, so… A team would have to win the whole thing just a short 100 times to break even on the buy-in. Totally reasonable. Think of it like a rep grind…. 🙄

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jay

Sarcasm? lol

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Greaterdivinity

They don’t specifically deny it, nope. That’s what makes me inclined to believe there’s some truth to that bit specifically.

Which is god-damned insane.