Blizzard Confirms 6 Expansion Teams For OWL 2019
Posted 16th September 2018 By: Derpina    285 Views
Esports News – The next Overwatch League campaign is in preparation after a successful inaugural season earlier this year. Blizzard Entertainment announced the signing of six new Overwatch teams that will take part in the 2019 competitive season. Nine out of the now 20 Overwatch teams are outside the United States to broaden the game’s global reach.
The new lineup
Activision Blizzard’s CEO Bobby Kotick announced the expansion in a press release, he stated: “The Overwatch League’s inaugural season was a great success. This past season alone, fans spent 160 million hours watching the leading Overwatch players in the world compete. We are thrilled to add new outstanding team owners from Europe, China, and North America to our Overwatch League ownership group. We now have 20 of the very best owners in professional sports.”
The six new teams include Chengdu and Hangzhou, China, Paris, Toronto, Vancouver, and Washington, D.C. The new teams will have until December 1st to gather the 8 players on their rosters, but the signing for their exclusive rights to free agents is only until October 7th. The existing teams, on the other hand, have an opportunity to make roster shuffles and other adjustments. Any of the original player from the inaugural season without a new contract can join a free agency pool, and teams can also sign players who have not participated in season one. All players who participated in the Overwatch Contenders and the Overwatch World Cup are available for listing.
Sponsors and naming rights
The expansion teams will be sponsored by multiple companies and organizations interested in promoting the world of competitive gaming domestically. Blizzard is yet to reveal the names of the teams yet, but the sponsors backing each team are as follows:
- Aquilini Investment Group – the company that will operate Vancouver, Canada’s representative. The company is a diversified family business that develops, owns, and manages real estate properties. They also own the National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks and Rogers Arena.
- Bilibili – an online entertainment and broadcasting company themed around animation, comic, and gaming. It will handle the team in Hangzhou, China. The company also has ownership rights for the Shanghai Sharks of China Basketball Association (CBA) and the Bilibili Gaming of League of Legends.
- DM Esports – a multinational company focused on esports entertainment and investments. It will operate the team in Paris, France.
- HUYA Inc. – a company research and investing platform that also offers interactive video broadcast services including esports, music, and reality show. It will operate the team in Chengdu, China.
- OverActive Media – an integrated investment company focused on esports franchises and related assets. It will operate the team in Toronto, Canada.
- Washington Esports Ventures – a newly founded sports organization owned by Mark Ein, owner of the Washington Kastles of World Team Tennis. It will operate the team in Washington, D.C.