The Overwatch League’s first season is approaching its conclusion, with the six teams set to compete for the grand prize in the playoffs confirmed.
It has been a good year for the competition. Despite declining viewership since Stage 1, Overwatch’s biggest competitive tournament has fared far better than many would have anticipated.
Given Blizzard set a $20m buy-in fee ahead of the first season, the competition needs to continue in the same vein for a number of years if the Overwatch League team owners are to see a return on their investments. Others will be hoping to follow suit over the next few years.
However, this year will have been a reassuring one. Overwatch League offers plenty of promise if this season is anything to go by. New York Excelsior are already well on their way to making back their initial investment.
So who are the Overwatch League team owners hoping to see this become esports’ answer to the Premier League, National Football League or Major League Baseball?
Boston Uprising – Kraft Group
The family-owned and ran Kraft Group, headed by CEO Robert Kraft, posted annual revenues of $3.5 billion in 2015. The group owns a number of sports team and organisations, such as American football’s New England Patriots and football team New England Revolution.
Florida Mayhem – Misfits Gaming
United Kingdom-based esports organisation Misfits has teams in a number of games, including CS:GO, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm. The organisation’s League of Legends team plays in the EU LCS.
Houston Outlaws – Infinite Esports & Entertainment
Infinite Esports is probably best known as the owner of American organisation OpTic Gaming, which competes in many of the biggest esports title. Esports fans know it particularly well for its Call of Duty team. Likewise, it also has a League of Legends team competing in the NA LCS.
London Spitfire – Cloud9
Overwatch’s London team is owned by Californian organisation Cloud9. As one of the best-known teams in competitive gaming, Cloud9 competes in almost all of the big esports titles, including League of Legends, CS:GO, Rocket League, Hearthstone and Fortnite.
New York Excelsior – Sterling VC
Sterling VC is the sister company of baseball team the New York Mets, serving as the organisation’s venture capital arm. The company invests heavily in sports, media and real estate, and is now trying its luck in esports.
Philadelphia Fusion – Comcast Spectacor
Comcast Spectacor is a well-known American sports and entertainment company, as well as the owner of the NHL ice hockey team the Philadelphia Flyers. Telecommunications company Comcast is the majority shareholder. Comcast is valued at more than $155 billion.
Dallas Fuel – Team Envy
Team EnVyUs, better known as Team Envy, is an esports organisation based between Dallas, Texas and Nice, France. The team has been competing in professional tournaments for over a decade, with teams currently in Call of Duty, Counter-Strike, Rocket League and more.
Los Angeles Gladiators – Kroenke Sports & Entertainment
The Gladiators are owned by sports family the Kroenkes, who also own Premier League football club Arsenal, NFL side the Los Angeles Rams basketball team the Denver Nuggets and ice hockey team the Colorado Avalanche. The family-run business, one of the biggest in sport, is worth billions of dollars.
Los Angeles Valiant – Immortals
After losing their place in the North American League of Legends Championship Series, esports organisation Immortals has expanded into a number of other titles, including Overwatch. Immortals rosters also compete in CS:GO, Dota 2, Smash Bros. and Arena of Valor.
San Francisco Shock – NRG eSports
Like Immortals, NRG eSports lost its spot in Riot Games’ major LoL esports league. However, it has found its place in many other titles since. Aside from Overwatch, NRG eSports also competes in CS:GO, Smite, Hearthstone and Rocket League.
Seoul Dynasty – Gen-G
Formerly known as KSV eSports, Gen-G is an esports organisation led by the CEO of mobile game company Kabam. Success in the mobile market has allowed Kevin Chou to pump money into his esports empire. Gen-G currently has teams in LoL, Heroes of the Storm and many more.
Shanghai Dragons – NetEase
Chinese technology company NetEase owns the Dragons. The company has developed some of the biggest mobile games around. Likewise, it currently has a regional partnership with Blizzard to operate the company’s popular games in China. The company has assets of around $9 billion.