The inaugural season of Overwatch League is drawing to a close, and soon the playoffs will begin. The League itself has exceeded expectations in this first year. This success has translated into the expected addition of 4-6 new teams. Activision Blizzard is hoping to bring the number of teams up to 18.
The goal is to add two teams from the Americas, two teams from Europe and the Middle East, and two from the Asia/Pacific region. The League may already be on track to add a team from Australia as reported by The Australian Financial Review. Melbourne, Australia, is the potential city which will possibly be added. The other reported cities being considered are Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, and a second team based in London.
Activision Blizzard has expressed they would like for half or more of the teams they add to the League to be from outside of the United States so the League is more international.
The current teams feature 9 from the United States, 2 from Asia, and one from the United Kingdom.
The twelve teams in the Overwatch League right now bought into the league at $20 million apiece. With the League excelling in its first year, the price for teams to join is reported to be around $30-$60 million for each team. There are multiple factors to determine the price for the team to join, such as the general population of the area where the team would be based and the number of players who play Overwatch within the region. If the market has interest from multiple buyers, then the price will continue to go up as they bid for the spot.
The reason for the jump in price can be attributed to a significant spike in the quoted evaluations of esports organizations, especially organizations who own both an Overwatch League team and a North American League of Legends Championship Series team. When it comes to sales, the Overwatch League has gained almost $150 million in broadcasting rights deals and sponsorship. Teams were hesitant to buy in last season with an unproven product, but this feeling has changed after the revenue success and an average viewership of 80,000-170,000 on the English-language Twitch broadcast.
If Overwatch League grows to 18 teams, it will be interesting to see the growth of the League in future years, and how big this can grow. Overwatch League may set the precedent for future games who want to move into the big leagues of competitive gaming.