Blizzard has sold six slots for its up and coming Overwatch League (“OWL”), according to a report by ESPN Esports‘ Jacob Wolf.
Reports from ESPN sources suggest that Robert Kraft, owner of New England Patriots, and Fred Wilpon, owner of New York Mets are amongst those who intend to participate in the upcoming OWL.
It reveals that agreements have been reached for franchises in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Boston in the United States. Additionally, Shanghai and Seoul are touted as the two confirmed non-American slots thus far. The Los Angeles based franchise, as expected, will be purchased by Immortals and the San Francisco slot will be purchased by NRG Esports. Both teams have had heavy traditional sports backing, but the buy-in price of $20 million is a huge amount of money regardless.
The financial details of deals signed by both Robert Kraft and Fred Wilpon have not been disclosed, nor the Shanghai and Seoul deals — according to ESPN.
There are little to no details about the Overwatch League and the only news broken has been from ESPN sources. Blizzard remain tight-lipped and despite initially suggesting that the OWL will get underway in the third quarter of 2017, it looks unlikely. Additionally, questions remain over how a franchise system works with teams spread across the world.
The reveal that Immortals will be the Los Angeles franchise is no real surprise. A recent investment from AEG revealed that Immortals will host fixtures at AEG’s L.A. Live Arena which was a big giveaway given that we understand an arena is a prerequisite for an OWL spot.
Esports Insider says: More big news, although it’s still not done yet. It’s an extra four slots from the last time ESPN reported on the OWL but given that we’re expecting a start in the “third quarter” of 2017, Blizzard have two months to get the League off the ground. With a $20 million buy-in, it’s huge money and we’re all eagerly awaiting more details.