Two new organizations, but only one new city, have officially joined the Overwatch League. Jack Etienne of Cloud9 has purchased the London team, while a second Los Angeles team has been acquired by the owners of KSE Esports.
Founded by Stan and Josh Kroenke -- owners of the LA Rams, Denver Nuggets, Arsenal Football Club, and Colorado Avalanche -- KSE Esports will share Los Angeles turf with the city's other team, Immortals. This is the first Overwatch city to receive two teams, a decision largely due to the location’s market opportunity.
"There's really only a few markets in the world I think where we consider having multiple teams, and L.A. is one of them," Overwatch Commissioner Nate Nanzer told Blitz Esports. "It's a huge market in terms of Overwatch player base, esports fandom, and infrastructure -- and it's a great sports town, as well. We're excited to see the local rivalry emerge within the context of a larger global league."
Cloud9 founder and CEO Jack Etienne is equally excited to enter the League, though it likely means the America-based company will eventually be setting up a shop in Europe. All OWL players will live and play near a Los Angeles studio for the League’s first year. Following the first season, however, teams are expected to host games in their home cities.
"A lot goes into hosting an esport event, and we want to make sure that our teams have time to really build out those capabilities, so that when it came time to start hosting home games, they'd be able to execute at a really high level," Nanzer explained.
"We are thrilled that Cloud9’s formidable fan base throughout Europe and the UK now has a local team to call their own," Etienne added, “and can’t wait to start representing London in the Overwatch League."
These additions bring the Overwatch League to nine owners across the world, including the first seven announced last month:
Los Angeles - Noah Whinston, CEO of Immortals
San Francisco - Andy Miller, chairman and founder of NRG Esports
Miami-Orlando - Ben Spoont, Misfits CEO and cofounder
New York City - Jeff Wilpon, cofounder and partner at Sterling.VC and COO of the New York Mets
Boston - Robert Kraft, chairman and CEO of The Kraft Group and the New England Patriots
Shanghai - Chinese internet technology company NetEase
Seoul - Kevin Chou, cofounder of Kabam
These teams will soon be finalizing their rosters, per Blizzard’s recently announced player signing window. Signed talent will receive a minimum $50,000 salary, among a few other benefits.
"The Overwatch League continues to have great momentum," Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said, adding that the team is thrilled to add Etienne and the Kroenkes. "They will enhance our ability to celebrate and reward players and fans in Los Angeles, London, and beyond."
For more Overwatch League updates, stay tuned to Blitz Esports, and look forward to more interviews and analysis on the Blitz Esports Overwatch YouTube channel.