Comcast snaps up remaining Overwatch franchise with 12-team line-up complete
Comcast, the US media giant, has purchased one of the three remaining franchises in the Overwatch League, a new eSports competition based on the video game produced by Blizzard Entertainment.
Comcast Spectacor, the Pennsylvania-based company’s sports and entertainment division, will own a Philadelphia team.
The group owns a portfolio of US sports franchises and venues including the Philadelphia Flyers, of ice hockey’s NHL, and the Wells Fargo Center, home to the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers.
Blizzard also revealed that two franchises in Texas have been acquired: Team Envy, with the backing of oil giant Hersh Interactive Group, has purchased a Dallas-based team, and OpTic Gaming has picked up a Houston franchise.
The final three teams complete Overwatch’s 12-team line-up, with the league scheduled to begin on 10 January 2018.
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 per franchise.
Comcast joins Overwatch’s established list of investors from US sports teams.
Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, which 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, the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, and NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, will own a Los Angeles-based team, while Robert Kraft, the American businessman and owner of the NFL’s New England Patriots, has a team in Boston.
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 slate of remaining teams includes a London-based team, owned by Cloud9, the USA-based eSports organisation, a second 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.