| Tags: Overwatch
| Author Alex Mcalpine
Overwatch League Season 2: Expansion Team Rundown
Blizzard is a company that has proven time and time again that it can change the landscape of gaming. Even in their early years, the team gathered around the core members, some of which are still in the company, seemed destined to make gaming history. Today, that history includes another brand new accomplishment – an esports league that is on the threshold of breaking out into the mainstream audience domain. Of course, this refers to the Overwatch League which had its debut in January. In just a couple of years since Overwatch was released, the potential of the game and the esports around it grew tremendously. In 2018, 12 teams covering the globe began competing and even managed to sell-out the Brooklyn's Barclays Center for the Grand Finals.
Now, the world is gearing up for Overwatch League Season 2, and the new teams that are about to join the competition. Here is the essential information about the new season and what changes it will entail.
The Organization and Finances
First, the developer of the game expanded the league from 12 to 18 teams, followed by a new expansion that set the team number to 20 for the 2019 season. Teams active in the first season paid $20 million USD for their place in the league. Now, the rumor has it that the new teams paid between $30 and $60 million USD to join. Expectedly, the new teams mainly come from North America and China. Here is an overview of the new teams and the backgrounds of their operators and owners.
Canada – Toronto, Ontario
The Toronto OWL franchise is funded by Splyce, an esports organization, Michael Kimel of the Penguins and OverActive Media Group. Splyce, with a 10 percent ownership, is controlling the operation. The franchise was bought for an estimated $35 million. According to the latest info, Chris Overholt, the former CEO of the Canadian Olympic Committee will be the President and Jaesun “Jae” Won will act as the GM. The head coach spot will go to the Beoumjun “Bishop” Lee, formerly of the London Spitfire.
Canada – Vancouver, British Columbia
This franchise was one of the last to be announced and its owner is the Aquilini Investment Group. The same group owns the Vancouver Canucks and their home, Rogers Arena. Aside from this, no other information has been shared about this team.
United States – Washington, DC
Mark Ein, the owner of Washington Kastles is running the funding group for this team, called Washington Esports Ventures. Kate Mitchell, the former GM of the Contenders team called Last Night’s Leftovers is going to acts as Assistant Manager for the team. Jyeong-seok “Wizardhyeong” Kim, previously of the New York Excelsior will be the head coach. Joon-hwa “Janus” Song, the player in New York Excelsior's tank role, was added to the roster.
United States – Atlanta, Georgia
The Atlanta franchise went to the Atlanta Esports Ventures group, which is funded mainly by Cox Enterprise. The franchise will join other Cox brands that include Cox Media Group, Cox Communication, and Cox Automotive. The group is clearly versatile and now the team will be operated by Atlanta Esports Ventures and its CEO Paul Hamilton. Brad “sephy” Rajani got the head coach role, while Dimitri “Silence” Couturet will fill the assistant coach role. Other names include data analyst Danny Mychakov and Cas “Casores” van Andel working on player development.
China – Chengdu, Sichuan
Huya, a Chinese streaming platform is the owner of the Chengdu franchise. The same company has received investments from Tencent and holds the rights to WESG or the World Electronic Sports Games. As one of the last additions to the league, there is no further information about the composition of the team or their operators.
China – Guangzhou, Guangdong
This team was among the first to be announced. The Nenking Group is the franchise owner and operator. The same conglomerate is active in finance and entertainment and owned by Zhong Naixiong, a Chinese billionaire. The same group also owns the Chinese Basketball Association and the Guangzhou Long Lions. These are all of the currently available info on the same team.
China – Hangzhou, Zhejiang
Bilibili, one of the largest online entertainment companies in China purchased this franchise. They are engaged in many different formats and entertainment genres. These include online videos, mobile games and live broadcasts. The makes the company a natural fit for the Hangzhou team franchise. Currently, it is taking suggestions for the name of the team, but other than that, there is no additional information.
Europe – Paris, France
Paris was, like the Guangzhou franchise, one of the first to announce they will be joining the Overwatch League. McCourt Global, an LA holding company active in the sports domain purchased the spot. They have now added to their portfolio which includes the LA Marathon and Olympique de Marseille football team. Their owner, Frank McCourt, is a veteran of the industry, being that he previously owned the LA Dodgers. There have been no further press releases from the team.
These teams will bring the number of active franchises for the Overwatch League to 20. The league's plan is to have all the teams travel and play in their cities by 2020. This means that the franchises have until then to set home venues. Aside from that, there is no starting date for the second season, although rumors have the season beginning in early 2019.