Atlanta slated for OW League expansion team with rumoured buy in over $30 million
East coast fans of the Overwatch League have a bit more to cheer for heading into Season Two as Atlanta were able to secure an expansion slot for the 2019 season. Cox Enterprises are said to be working in conjunction with Province Inc., which will operate under the ‘Atlanta Esports Ventures’ banner as they seek out new opportunities in the space.
With this latest announcement from Activision Blizzard, CEO Pete Vlastelica made it clear that Atlanta will most likely be the only U.S. expansion team to be added in 2019, as they look for more integration from Europe and Asia for future teams. Guangzhou is the only other confirmed city at this time.
Atlanta on the rise
For fans of Atlanta sporting events, it’s been a rollercoaster ride for the franchises based out of the city as teams in Football and Soccer have enjoyed wild success in a relatively short amount of time. While the basketball franchise may not be on the same page, Atlanta Esports Ventures will be looking to add another winning franchise to a city with robust history and culture heading into the 2019 season.
This venture comes at a crucial point for the Overwatch League, as plans for international competition and regional expansions are only revving up heading into the next season. For now, all games will continue to be played in Los Angeles but there are obvious plans to make ‘home’ and ‘away’ games a possibility for each team as early as 2020.
With the announcement of this expansion, there is still little to no rumblings as to what this roster will eventually look like on paper with the free agency window still one month away from opening up. There is a high chance the newly slated expansion teams will compete for Overwatch League talent and Contenders’ talent during the free agency window, and the more cash strapped teams are heading into negotiations, the higher their chances are of landing some big time talent to their team.
What to expect
With initial investment numbers rumoured to be over $30 million USD, the buy-in to participate in the Overwatch League comes with a certain degree of expectations that new coaches and players will need to live up to. At this stage, there is no way that new teams can repeat the disastrous 0-40 season that Shanghai Dragons had this year, but the goal for new teams will be way higher than simply achieving one win per season as the implications for playoffs and title aspirations will be much more pronounced with 18 teams entering the league.
With cities like Guangzhou, Paris and possibly Berlin all gearing up for entry into the Overwatch League, the ambitions for Activision Blizzard are purely international as Atlanta will most likely be the only States side expansion for the 2019 season. Rumoured cities said to be in the running for a spot include but are not limited to; Taiwan, Incheon, Beijing, Manchester, and possibly a Spanish based team given the popularity of Overwatch in Spain heading into the Overwatch World Cup.