Canada will get its first Overwatch League team in Season Two sources close to the league have revealed, as Blizzard’s flagship league expands following a successful first season.
According to Over.gg, a Toronto-themed team will become one of the Overwatch League’s new expansion sides.
It is currently unknown who has purchased the franchise slot for Toronto. However, sources close to the league claim that it will be managed by esports side Splyce, in a similar fashion to the way Los Angeles Gladiators. The Gladiators is owned by Kroenke Sport & Entertainment Group, but is ran by esports organisation Sentinels.
Splyce were in talks with Blizzard to purchase an Overwatch League spot before the first season. However, the organisation decided against it, stating that it might be open to joining the league at a later date.
The initial franchise fee was reportedly $20m. However, that has increased to $30-60m ahead of Season Two following the league’s initial success. The cost of setting up an Overwatch League team reportedly depends on a number of factors, such as the population of a city and the number of local Overwatch players.
The Overwatch League’s expansion teams
If these rumours are to be believed, Toronto will become the third team to join the Overwatch League ahead of season two.
Since the season ended, the Overwatch League has already confirmed two additional teams: Atlanta and Guangzhou. The Atlanta-based team is being set up by local investment firm Cox Enterprises. Likewise, the Guangzhou team is backed by Chinese real estate developer and investment firm Nenking Group.
Team names and branding have yet to be revealed. No deadline has been set for that to happen. However, we can expect more information on this soon ahead of Season Two’s January start date.
Likewise, reports by ESPN suggest that Blizzard has also sold an expansion spot for a Paris-based team.
Blizzard are thought to be keen to add up to six expansion teams to the Overwatch League before January. Atlanta, Guangzhou, Paris and Toronto would make four, with two additional spots still up for grabs.
Expansion teams will be allowed to sign free agents from September 9, allowing them to build their squads ahead of the new season.