Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League has begun and it seems to be more successful than even the organizers themselves expected. Viewership, revenue, event the previously terrible spectator mode, all are exceeding expectations.
T-Mobile, Intel, OMEN by HP and Toyota all sponsor the League, Twitch.tv signed a reported $90 million deal with Twitch. Everyone doubted the Overwatch League but it seems like it was not warranted if its popularity is any indication.
With all of that said, ESPN’s Jacob Wolf has recently published a report saying that even though the Overwatch League is looking to expand in Europe and Asia, the price tag potential teams are expected to pay for the honor might just be divorced from reality.
If Wolf’s report is to be believed, Blizzard might expect to get up to $30-60 million for the expansion slots in Season 2 of the Overwatch Leagues, up from the $20 million the current teams are paying.
That… will be a hard sell. Despite the fact that Overwatch League technically fields teams from all over the world, the great majority of them is owned by American entities. While it’s perfectly acceptable to throw away $20 million in America, hoping it will pan out and moving on if it doesn’t, things are different in other parts of the world.
While the concept seems to be proven now, asking for more than the usual $20 million will massively reduce the numbers of companies who bite and go for it. Especially if ownership is expected to come from non-USA countries.
For all we know, the price tag might actually turn out to be an accurate representation of the value of a spot in the Overwatch League but it will be very hard to find any takers in Europe. Asia? Possibly, especially if Blizzard doesn’t turn its nose up at the prospect of Chinese money getting more of a stake in the League.
One thing is for certain, though. The willingness to risk $20 million shown by the original teams should be rewarded. The new teams should have to pay more. How much more? That remains to be seen.