Activision Blizzard finalize agreements; Paris and Guangzhou confirmed for Overwatch League expansion teams
In a blockbuster announcement earlier this week, Activision Blizzard confirmed Paris and Guangzhou have hashed out agreements with investors to purchase an expansion slot for Season Two of the Overwatch League. The rumoured price for an expansion slot was said to be around $30 million to $60 million dollars as both teams are being backed by big financial groups looking to make a splash next season.
Big cities, big changes
The Overwatch League continues to piece together a robust global presence in every region with the latest additions to their team expansions. This latest move to add Paris and Guangzhou is another step in that direction as the Overwatch League looks to grow their prospects in Europe and Asia.
After a previous announcement that Activision Blizzard were looking to add a total of six teams to the Overwatch League, the bidding process for new teams and their financiers started to develop steam. Piloting this move for a Parisian Overwatch team is Frank McCourt, founder of McCourt Global.
On top of owning one of the newest additions to the Overwatch League, McCourt Global is also the owner of Olympique de Marseille, a prominent French team in Ligue 1. This endeavor into ownership for an eSports team is a trek into uncharted waters for Frank McCourt and his company, but the groundwork for a successful team is already underway given the high profile status of his previous sporting endeavors.
For the Guangzhou spot, the Nenking group ran by Chinese billionare Zhong Naixiong, swooped in at the 11th hour to seal the deal for China and secure the second OWL team in the region alongside the Shanghai Dragons. Zhong Naixiong also has a history with sporting teams as his ownership group oversees the Guangzhou Long-Lions, a team based in the Chinese Basketball Association.
These moves are emblematic of the international influence Activision Blizzard are looking for with their expansion slots. Last month, CEO of eSports Pete Vlastelica made it clear that the new roster spots would be centered around teams not located in the U.S. Given that there’s nine teams based in the United States already, broadening horizons and paving the way for new Asian and European teams will be a big first step in making the Overwatch League that much more visible.
More to come
In the coming months, top ranking officials in Activision Blizzard will be announcing future team deals as they become finalized. There is a strong sentiment of those officials ‘in the know’ that Berlin will be added to the confirmed teams and that there is still one to two more European slots up for grabs.
On the other side of the hemisphere, South Korea is slated to gain another team to represent their country with several cities like Daegu, Incheon and Busan all in the running for representation. There is rumoured to be an outside chance that a big city outside of Korea such as Taiwan or even Tokyo are in the running for an expansion slot. Of course, all deals and agreements will have to be approved by the board of Activision Blizzard before anything gains traction.