It hasn’t even been a week since the first Overwatch League finals wrapped up, the event where the London Spitfire beat the Philadelphia Fusion for the championship and DJ Khaled made a whole room of people simultaneously cringe into the fetal position. The inaugural season’s success has caused Blizzard to announce two more teams for the 2019 roster. While still unnamed, the second season of the Overwatch League will feature a team from Atlanta, Georgia and one from Guangzhou, China.
Blizzard’s press release explains that more news about the teams (including rosters and names) will come at a later date along with information on future expansion teams. For now, we only know the owners. Cox Enterprises, in a partnership with Province, Inc., owns the Atlanta team while Nenking Group, a Chinese commercial trading company, owns the Guangzhou team. Nenking Group also owns the Guangzhou Long Lions, a Chinese basketball team. Paul Hamilton, president and CEO of Atlanta Esports Ventures, stated that the Atlanta team will help bring the game to a new part of the United States.
“The popularity of Overwatch and esports in general has created a diverse fanbase that we in Atlanta are excited to engage,” he said. “With the creativity of Blizzard Entertainment and the determination of Atlanta Esports Ventures, we are poised to create the preeminent esports team in the heart of the Southeast.”
He has a point. Out of the American Overwatch League teams, most are located on the West and East Coasts. Season one had no team between the two Texan franchises and the Florida Mayhem and Atlanta fills that gap nicely. It also points out the issue that there are large gaps of American soil with no Overwatch League teams, something Blizzard will surely fix at some point.
There has been some wavering reports of how much an Overwatch League team costs to start. ESPN initially reported in 2017 that it takes over $20 million to buy in, which allegedly some companies hesitant to jump on. Blizzard, however, reached out to Polygon and, while not outright denying the exact number, respectfully disputed the claims.
Earlier this year, Blizzard said that the “price will go up,” following the success of the first chunk of the season. Sources then also told ESPN earlier this year that the price for a new team could be as high as $60 million.