Overwatch League Unveils Three New Teams

Overwatch_Gameplay - Publicity - H 2016
Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

The e-sports league now lists 12 franchises representing cities in Asia, Europe and North America.

Three new teams have signed on for the Overwatch League's inaugural season, kicking off January 2018.

Teams for Dallas, Houston and Philadelphia have signed on for the recently announced e-sports league, bringing the grand total for the first season to 12 franchises representing major cities in Asia, Europe and North America.

The new additions are Comcast Spectacor from Philadelphia, Team Envy from Dallas and OpTic Gaming from Houston.

“We’re excited for more teams to enter the fray,” said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, whose company developed the popular first-person shooter. “The strength of our partners reflects the epic competition we’re going to deliver to millions of e-sports fans, old and new. We’re thrilled that communities including Dallas, Houston and Philadelphia will be able to join in the fun when preseason starts in December.”

“With the first 12 teams in place, we’re now just a few short months away from the inaugural season of the Overwatch League,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment. “This is a huge milestone for the league; we can’t wait for the action to get underway and to see some of the top competitive Overwatch® players in the world facing off to become the first-ever Overwatch League champions.”

The Overwatch League also announced the beginning of its preseason play, starting Dec. 6., which will comprise a series of exhibition matches featuring all 12 teams. The official regular season will kick off Jan. 10 and run into June, with playoffs and finals scheduled for July. For the inaugural season, all preseason and regular season games will take place at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, which is a renovated Tonight Show studio once used by Johnny Carson. The arena seats 450 spectators.

Overwatch, originally released in 2016, boasts over 30 million players. The league was announced last November and includes backers such as New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft,  COO of the New York Mets Jeff Wilpon, and co-owner of the Sacramento Kings Andy Miller. E-sports, meanwhile, has a worldwide revenue expected at $696 million this year and looks to grow to $1.5 billion by 2020, according to Newzoo. The research firm also says that 285 million people globally watched e-sports last year.