According to a report by ESPN’s Jacob Wolf, Overwatch League has got six spots wrapped up with the agreements to participate by the owner of New England Patriots Robert Kraft, the New York Mets owners, Sterling Equities, Immortals, NRG Esports and unnamed South Korean organization, as well as a Chinese company.
So far, it seems like the Los Angeles region is going to be the home base for Immortals, while NRG Esports will represent San Francisco. Both teams paid $20 million for the right. New England Patriots will be based in Boston, New York is going be the territory belonging to Sterling VC, a subsidiary of Sterling Equities. The organization is linked to the New York Mets baseball team.
Also, there will be Overwatch teams in Shanghai, China and Seoul, South Korean, however, it’s currently unknown who’s going to be behind these teams. Immortals is one of the most popular ad fastest-growing esports organizations in North America, founded by Noah Whinston and partners, including Linkin Park and Memphis Grizzlies co-owner Stephen Kaplan. NRG Esports can also boast simillar roots with Sacramento Kings co-owners Andrew Miller and Mark Mastrov being its founders. This org was invested in by several notable sports stars, including Shaquille O‘Neal and Alex Rodriguez. The New York team will be run by Jeff Wilpon, according to Wolfe‘s sources.
While this news is encouraging, the price tag on joining the Overwatch League is certainly concerning. If the $20 million check Immortals had to write to get Los Angeles is really accurate, Activision Blizzard is demanding much more than Riot Games for their vastly more successful and proven NA LCS permanent partnership, which comes in at $10 million. According to esports journalist Richard Lewis, the price tag on the currently unproven Overwatch League turns off many of the potential investors, especially in the face of the fact that the “ownership” of a city in Overwatch will not guarantee the same city for a similar Call of Duty tournament that Activision Blizzard is reportedly putting together.