Kroenke is latest sports team owner to buy into new Overwatch league
Stan Kroenke, the US businessman and owner of various sports teams around the world, has bought a franchise in the Overwatch League, the new city-based eSports competition organised by video game developers Blizzard Entertainment.
Blizzard has announced that Kroenke and his son Josh (both pictured) will own a Los Angeles-based team, which will be second outfit in the league to be based in the city.
The family’s holding company Kroenke Sports & Entertainment is presently a majority shareholder in teams including Arsenal, of English soccer’s top-tier Premier League, the Los Angeles Rams, of American football’s NFL, NBA basketball’s Denver Nuggets, and NHL ice hockey’s Colorado Avalanche.
Blizzard also revealed that Cloud9, the USA-based eSports organisation, has purchased a team in London.
The latest additions take the league’s total number of teams to nine, after seven franchises were announced last month.
Robert Kraft, the American businessman and owner of the NFL’s New England Patriots, has a team in Boston, and there is also a Los Angeles outfit, owned by Noah Winston, chief executive of eSports team Immortals, a New York team, owned by Jeff Wilpon, chief operating officer of baseball’s New York Mets, and a Miami-Orlando franchise, owned by Ben Spoont, chief executive of Miami Heat-owned eSports Misfits.
Andy Miller, the co-owner of the Sacramento Kings, has purchased a team in San Francisco, while Kevin Chou, the co-founder of mobile game developer Kabam, and Chinese tech giant NetEase, have bought franchises in Seoul and Shanghai, respectively.
The cost of purchasing a franchise in Blizzard’s new league was understood to be a minimum of $20 million, with no immediate financial return guaranteed, as a revenue-sharing model is not expected to be in place until 2021.
By comparison, Riot Games’ North American League of Legends competition charges around $10 million for a franchise.