Blizzard's official professional esports league for Overwatch continues to round into shape, and today announced two more franchises have been purchased. That puts the count at nine teams total, including the two announced today with one in Los Angeles established by Stan and Josh Kroenke (a family that already holds ownership stakes in the LA Rams, Arsenal Football Club, Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche). The other goes to Cloud9 owner Jack Etienne, whose company already operates ten esports teams, including one for Overwatch.
The first seven team owners included big names in both sports and tech, and it's not surprising to see owners of teams in traditional sports buying in. There's no word yet on any player movements, although the official signing window opened August 1st. Blizzard has announced several baselines for player pay and treatment, including housing, health insurance and a minimum $50,000 salary.
The press release did say that there will be more team announcements "in the coming months," while plans to launch the Overwatch League -- with its city-based teams and league action streaming every week -- are still on for later this year.Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said that Etienne and the Kroenkes "will enhance our ability to celebrate and reward players and fans in Los Angeles, London, and beyond."
According to Josh Kroenke, ""We're impressed by the vision and strategy for the League, and we're going to build a great team for Los Angeles that inspires fans near and far," -- and one that may provide an alternate use for the $2.6 billion stadium/entertainment complex his family is building in Inglewood, CA.
As for Etienne, the league's first European owner said "We are thrilled that Cloud9's formidable fan base
throughout Europe and the UK now has a local team to call their own, and can't wait to start representing London in the Overwatch League."