The Overwatch League has today announced two new teams, with a second time setting up shop in Los Angeles, and one settling right here in London Town.
Cloud9 has set up shop in Blighty, with Cloud9’s founder Jack Etienne picking up the London slot, while Stan and Josh Kroenke, who own traditional sports teams Arsenal Football Club, the Los Angeles Rams, Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Mammoth, Avalanche and Rapids teams.
They join the seven owners already putting together teams for the Overwatch roster, bringing the total of confirmed teams to nine.
“The Overwatch League continues to have great momentum,” says Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick in a press release.
“We’re thrilled to add Jack Etienne of Cloud9 and Stan and Josh Kroenke of the Los Angeles Rams, Arsenal Football Club, Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche to our group of extraordinary Overwatch League owners around the world. They will enhance our ability to celebrate and reward players and fans in Los Angeles, London, and beyond.”
Mike Morhaime, the CEO of Blizzard, added: "Overwatch is a global game, with heroes – and players – from around the world, so it’s important to us that as many Overwatch League fans as possible have local or regional teams to root for," says Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "In addition to broadening the competitive field for Season 1, we’re excited that today’s announcement helps set the stage for more epic intercontinental rivalries."
The Overwatch League is planned to start later this year, with a signing window open for season 1 from August 1 to October 30. Players signed up to compete can look forward to a relatively stable one year rolling contract, with salaries of $50,000 a year plus performance bonuses worth at least 50% of what they win. Players will also receive health insurance and a pension in addition to access to a player house and practice facilities. It seems that as much as Blizzard want Overwatch to succeed as an esport, they also want to make sure players are looked after.
“Building communities around the best competitive experiences in the world is incredibly rewarding, and the Overwatch League offers the chance to create something special,” says Josh Kroenke, the cofounder of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment. “We’re impressed by the vision and strategy for the League, and we’re going to build a great team for Los Angeles that inspires fans near and far.”
"We applaud the creation of the Overwatch League, and couldn’t be happier partnering with an organization that shares our values and vision of serving athletes, teams, and fans,” added Jack Etienne, founder and CEO of Cloud9. "We are thrilled that Cloud9’s formidable fan base throughout Europe and the UK now has a local team to call their own, and can’t wait to start representing London in the Overwatch League."
For UK fans this is good news, and there’s a good chance your favourite teams from around the world will now be making a pit stop in London to play.