SANTA MONICA, Calif. & IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The stage is now set for the inaugural season of the Overwatch League™. Teams for Dallas, Houston, and Philadelphia have signed on, bringing the total for the first season to the targeted 12 franchises representing major cities in Asia, Europe, and North America. The new team owners announced today are:
- Comcast Spectacor (Philadelphia), leader in sports and entertainment and owner of the Philadelphia Flyers
- Team Envy (Dallas), veteran esports organization with experience across multiple genres
- OpTic Gaming (Houston), established esports organization known for its passionate global fan base
The Overwatch League also announced today that preseason play will start on Wednesday, December 6, with a series of exhibition matches featuring all 12 teams. The regular season will then kick off on January 10 and will run into June, with playoffs and finals scheduled for July. For the inaugural season, all preseason and regular season games will take place at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles, a state-of-the-art live-event venue in Burbank, California, custom-renovated for Blizzard Entertainment esports events.
“We’re excited to kick off the inaugural season of the Overwatch League,” said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. “We have the very best team owners in esports and we will celebrate our professional players better than any league ever has!”
“With the first 12 teams in place, we’re now just a few short months away from the inaugural season of the Overwatch League,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment. “This is a huge milestone for the league; we can’t wait for the action to get underway and to see some of the top competitive Overwatch® players in the world facing off to become the first-ever Overwatch League champions.”
“Comcast Spectacor is thrilled to play a central role in the Overwatch League’s inaugural season and energize the growing esports community in Philadelphia and beyond,” said Dave Scott, President and CEO, Comcast Spectacor. “An esports franchise is a great addition to our portfolio of sports and entertainment assets and we believe that Overwatch League is uniquely positioned to succeed.”
"We are beyond excited to be joining the Overwatch League and helping to build the future of esports in Dallas,” said Mike Rufail, owner and CEO of Team Envy. “Envy already has a significant history in competitive Overwatch, and we are pleased to be able to build upon that legacy in the league later this year." Hersh Interactive Group, the esports investing entity affiliated with Hersh Family Investments, is a substantial investment partner in Team Envy, which continues to be led by Mike Rufail. The Dallas Overwatch League team is owned by a wholly owned subsidiary of Team Envy.
“It's an absolute honor to represent the great city of Houston in the Overwatch League,” said Hector Rodriguez, owner and CEO of OpTic Gaming. “This is another significant milestone in OpTic’s history and a testament to the loyal support of our fans. We’re excited to continue shaping the future of esports and bring the OpTic passion to the rapidly expanding Overwatch community.”
Further details about the Overwatch League, including team specifics such as team names, logos, and colors, as well as more information about the inaugural season’s schedule and format, will be announced in the coming months.
About the Overwatch League™
The Overwatch League™ is the first major global professional esports league with city-based teams across Asia, Europe, and North America. 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.
© 2017 Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. OVERWATCH and OVERWATCH LEAGUE are trademarks of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.
*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 dates, events, and features 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.