SANTA MONICA, Calif. & IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Overwatch League™ today announced its latest team sales, with esports organization founder Jack Etienne of Cloud9 purchasing the team for London, and sports industry leaders Stan and Josh Kroenke purchasing a team for Los Angeles.
The Overwatch League is the first major global professional esports league with city-based teams, and will showcase world-class competitive play in Blizzard Entertainment’s hit game Overwatch®. Last month the League announced its first team sales to seven leading entrepreneurs and organizations from traditional sports, esports, and the technology sector, representing major global cities from Boston to Shanghai. With today’s announcement, the League now includes teams from Asia, Europe, and North America, including two teams for Los Angeles.
“The Overwatch League continues to have great momentum,” said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. “We’re thrilled to add Jack Etienne of Cloud9 and Stan and Josh Kroenke of the Los Angeles Rams, Arsenal Football Club, Denver Nuggets, and Colorado Avalanche to our group of extraordinary Overwatch League owners around the world. They will enhance our ability to celebrate and reward players and fans in Los Angeles, London, and beyond.”
"Overwatch is a global game, with heroes - and players - from around the world, so it's important to us that as many Overwatch League fans as possible have local or regional teams to root for," said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "In addition to broadening the competitive field for Season 1, we're excited that today's announcement helps set the stage for more epic intercontinental rivalries."
“Building communities around the best competitive experiences in the world is incredibly rewarding, and the Overwatch League offers the chance to create something special,” said Josh Kroenke, cofounder of KSE Esports. “We’re impressed by the vision and strategy for the League, and we’re going to build a great team for Los Angeles that inspires fans near and far.”
"We applaud the creation of the Overwatch League, and couldn't be happier partnering with an organization that shares our values and vision of serving athletes, teams, and fans,” said Jack Etienne, founder and CEO of Cloud9. "We are thrilled that Cloud9’s formidable fan base throughout Europe and the UK now has a local team to call their own, and can’t wait to start representing London in the Overwatch League."
The Overwatch League is slated to begin later this year, with an official player signing window for Season 1 now open from August 1 to October 30, 2017. Details on player signings, salaries and benefits have been announced, with players earning a minimum of $50,000 each year, and at least 50 percent of team performance bonuses from winning playoffs and other League events going directly to players. Teams will provide players with health insurance and a retirement savings plan, as well as player housing and practice facilities during the season which will meet professional standards set by the Overwatch League.
More information about the League’s format and timeline, as well as new team announcements, will be shared over the coming months.
About Overwatch League™
The Overwatch League™ is the first major global professional esports league with city-based teams in Boston, London, Los Angeles, Miami-Orlando, New York, San Francisco, Seoul, and Shanghai. Overwatch® was created by globally acclaimed publisher Blizzard Entertainment (a division of Activision Blizzard - Nasdaq: ATVI), whose iconic franchises have helped lay the foundations and push the boundaries of professional esports over the last 15 years. Among Blizzard’s stable of twenty-one #1 games,* Overwatch is the fastest to reach more than 30 million players. Overwatch was built from the ground up for online competition, with memorable characters and fast-paced action designed for the most engaging gameplay and spectator experiences. To learn more about the Overwatch League, visit www.overwatchleague.com.
*Sales and/or downloads, based on internal company records and reports from key distribution partners.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements: Information in this press release that involves Blizzard Entertainment's expectations, plans, intentions or strategies regarding the future, including statements about the expected start date of the Overwatch League, are forward-looking statements that are not facts and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause Blizzard Entertainment's actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements set forth in this release include unanticipated product delays and other factors identified in the risk factors sections of Activision Blizzard’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. The forward-looking statements in this release are based upon information available to Blizzard Entertainment and Activision Blizzard as of the date of this release, and neither Blizzard Entertainment nor Activision Blizzard assumes any obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements believed to be true when made may ultimately prove to be incorrect. These statements are not guarantees of the future performance of Blizzard Entertainment or Activision Blizzard and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond its control and may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.