The Overwatch League™ is expanding again. Last month, franchises representing Atlanta and Guangzhou joined the Overwatch League, and now six more new teams-Chengdu, Hangzhou, Paris, Toronto, Vancouver, and Washington, D.C.-will compete for the 2019 Overwatch League championship. With a roster of 20 total teams-nine of them outside of the United States, the Overwatch League has further strengthened its position as the premier global city-based esports league.
The ownership groups for the new franchises are:
- OverActive Media-An integrated company delivering esports and video game entertainment to the Canadian market will operate the team in Toronto, Canada
- Aquilini Group-A diversified family business that owns the National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks and Rogers Arena, and manages a global conglomerate portfolio will operate the team in Vancouver, Canada
- Bilibili-A leading online entertainment company for young people in China, covering a wide array of genres and media formats including: videos, live broadcasting, and mobile games will operate the team in Hangzhou, China
- DM Esports-A global company focused on esports entertainment and investments will operate the team in Paris, France
- HUYA Inc.-A leading game livestreaming platform in China will operate the team in Chengdu, China
- Washington Esports Ventures-A sports organization founded by Mark Ein, owner of the Washington Kastles of World Team Tennis, to build and promote esports enterprises will operate the team in Washington, D.C.
“The Overwatch League’s inaugural season was a great success,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard. “This past season alone, fans spent 160 million hours watching the leading Overwatch players in the world compete. We are thrilled to add eight new outstanding team owners from Europe, China, and North America to our Overwatch League ownership group. We now have 20 of the very best owners in professional sports.”
“We just capped an amazing inaugural Overwatch League season, crowning our first-ever Grand Finals champion in front of a sold-out crowd of dedicated and passionate fans,” said Pete Vlastelica, president and CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues. “Now, as we look forward to the 2019 season and beyond, we’re adding eight new teams that will help us grow our league in important regions around the globe. We know that the difference between a good league and a great league is its owners, and we set a high bar for our first season with the caliber of ownership groups. Every one of these expansion franchises cleared that bar and will make our league even better.”
“We look forward to growing the reach and influence of the Toronto franchise and the Overwatch League in Canada, and around the world,” said Chris Overholt, president and CEO of OverActive Media. “We’ll achieve this with the help and passionate support of our fans, who are already declaring their allegiance for our team. Our owners are fiercely committed to building a team of professionals and an organization that we know will quickly be considered a best-in-class sports and entertainment company.”
Further details about official team names, marks, and rosters will be announced soon by each franchise in conjunction with the Overwatch League. Information about the 2019 season schedule will be released at a later date.