Overwatch League Officially Announces Seven Cities, But Not Launch Date

Written By Dustin Gouker on July 12, 2017 - Last Updated on February 3, 2023

[toc]The fledgling Overwatch League finally started to release some of the details of its planned launch, including officially announcing the first seven cities to get a franchise.

That came after last week’s revelation that some owners from the NFL and Major League Baseball were investing in the league.

What we know about Overwatch League

The update came in video form, from league commissioner Nate Nanzer:

Five teams will be based in the US, and two in Asia, so far. Here are the cities getting franchises, along with the lead investor/owner in each:

  • Boston:  Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, CEO of Kraft Group
  • New York: Jeff Wilpon, New York Mets owner
  • Miami-Orlando: Ben Spoont, CEO of Misfits Gaming
  • San Francisco: Andy Miller, NRG Esports
  • Los Angeles: Noah Winston, CEO of Immortals
  • Shanghai: Netease
  • Seoul: Kevin Chou, co-founder of Kabam

More here.

“Overwatch is a game about a diverse group of international heroes who fight for an optimistic vision of the future, and the Overwatch League is an extension of that spirit,” said Blizzard Entertainment CEO and cofounder Mike Morhaime.

“We’re building this league for fans — esports fans, traditional sports fans, gaming fans — and we’re thrilled to have individuals and organizations who are as passionate about professional competition as we are, and who have extensive experience in all three fields, representing our first major international cities in the league.”

What else we learned about the Overwatch League

Nanzer said that does not yet fill out what is expected to be the full roster of teams for the first season. The league is probably aiming for more geographic diversity.

Other details that came out on Wednesday:

  • Regular-season matches for the first season will be played at “an esports arena in the Los Angeles area in the United States.” The early money is on a venue in LA Live, where the Immortals are based.
  • Games will be played each Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the season.
  • Each franchise is licensed to run up to five amateur events in their home territory each year.
  • Teams will receive an equal share of net revenues from league-wide advertising, ticketing and broadcast rights deals. They keep all local revenues up to a set amount each year.
  • Overwatch players will be able to support the collective teams via special in-game items. 50 percent of the revenues from these items will flow into the shared revenue pool.

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So when will Overwatch League start?

Originally, the plan was to launch in September. However, it’s July and Overwatch has no official schedule. That makes that timeframe seem unlikely. (The fact that all teams aren’t on board yet also makes a September launch seem optimistic.)

The update from Blizzard said only that the league was on track to begin later this year. That means the wait for the first Overwatch League match could extend into the fall or winter.

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Dustin Gouker

Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner. You can also find his work at Legal Sports Report.

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