Esteemed esports journalist Richard Lewis yesterday reported that Activision Blizzard has secured the involvement of two huge US sporting brands in the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins. Lewis’ sources suggest that owners Robert Kraft and Stephen Ross have both purchased multi-million dollar slots in the league.
There’s little to no further information at present. It remains unknown as to how the owners of the Pats and Dolphins will decide to field a team. It may well be that they acquire players and work under their own personal branding or we may see smaller esports organisations being swallowed up by these sporting organisations that truly dwarf any esport org when it comes to financial power.
There’s still several spots for Blizzard to sell, and now its sold multi-million deals to two huge sport investors, one would assume it won’t be budging from that rough price. The Morgan Stanley report previously published suggested that a Los Angeles franchise could cost up to $15,000,000. Whether or not there’s other big organisations lined up remains to be seen; but we could see traditional esports organisations being left behind.
Teams such as NRG, Fnatic and Cloud9 have all secured recent investment whilst Misfits, Dignitas and Splyce already have links to traditional sports – be it NBA or NFL. Those are the teams that look well placed from the traditional, endemic esports side to secure themselves a spot.
The ripple effect has already been seen with compLexity releasing their Overwatch roster this morning and TSM doing the same. The reasons cited are simply put they can not cope financially with what is required from the OWL.
Esports Insider says: Blizzard is yet to reveal full details of the OWL and until all of the teams are announced it’s likely we simply won’t know. There are many that remain hugely sceptical of the whole league. Only time will tell.