Washington D.C. and Hangzhou set for Overwatch League expansion cities in Season Two
In a surprise turn of events from all parties involved, the United States and China are set for another Overwatch League team in each region with Washington D.C. and Hangzhou confirmed as target cities. Both come as a shot in the dark for Overwatch fans following the murmurs closely this past month, as rumours of Melbourne and Madrid also surfaced but held little traction as the days went on. This addition marks the 11th team for the United States in the Overwatch League and the third as of right now for China as a region.
Selling like hot cakes
With all the hoopla of which slots will be taken this coming season of the Overwatch League, it’s obvious Blizzard weren’t playing any games with the seriousness of these talks as they have now confirmed four cities to add in Season Two. With Atlanta and Guangzhou already in rotation, this further addition of Washington D.C. and Hangzhou have epitomized the global appeal Overwatch is looking to achieve, specifically in the Chinese market, as the scene continues to grow.From all angles, this move makes perfect business sense both from a dollars perspective and from a fan attendance perspective as fans of Chinese Overwatch are desperate for a new team to cheer for given their counterpart Shanghai’s dreadful lows in Season One. Regardless of results, these new teams will have a head start on their Overwatch League competitors as they prepare to for an exclusive Free Agency signing period starting September 9.
The Washington D.C. spot has been bought out by an organization led by Mark Ein, who is also the Owner of the Washington City Paper and Washington Kastles. A native of the Washington Area, Ein is a constant figure in anything to do with local charities, cultural organizations and community services as he constantly tries to give back to the community he hails from. Ein is now taking the dive into the realm of eSports as he brings another source of entertainment to his city in a monumental way.For Hangzhou, the spot has been bought out by the famous Chinese video sharing company Bilibili. With the heightened interest of the Overwatch League after a strong finish to the season, there is no doubt that these spots went for a pretty penny as spots are agreed upon. Buyouts for slots this season have been rumoured as high as $60 million dollars, and the estimate is tangible given the amount of money involved with the companies buying these slots.
What are the odds?
With a slew of new teams joining this next season, the ideal move for any team ‘starting from scratch’ would be to avoid that hurdle altogether and buy-in with a roster that is fully capable of winning as a unit. With that said, multiple teams have been in talks with Korean rosters such as RunAway, Kongdoo Panthera, Meta Bellum and MVP Space all in the running to be bought out completely.Even though the idea would be nice, poaching an entire Korean roster for a team that isn’t necessarily Korean would be a hard sell to the fan base they are trying to capture. With Busan still rumored to be a destination for Overwatch League spots, there is no guarantee that Washington D.C. or Hangzhou can attempt that kind of coupe as players rightfully look to entertain all their options.
With or without instant team cohesion, several teams like Boston Uprising, LA Gladiators, Shanghai Dragons and Seoul Dynasty have all released players that would interest either of these cities. The go to plan for any expansion team would be to find a core player in each role and work around hero pools to field a team that can play any style on any given map across a total of 12 players.If the right coaches are put to work, you can get to a place where even the not so mechanically gifted players can shine when given the right conditions, but piecing together a five star roster from the scraps of every other team will be a tough ask for any new Owner or Head Coach coming into the League. All new teams will have to be judged with parameters as they look to maximize their opportunities in Free Agency starting next week.