Blizzard announced the three final teams that are joining its Overwatch League for its first season. These last additions bring the total to 12 groups representing Asia, Europe, and North America. The new teams include:
- Comcast Spectacor (Philadelphia), leader in sports and entertainment and owner of the Philadelphia Flyers.
- Team Envy (Dallas), veteran esports organization with experience across multiple genres.
- OpTic Gaming (Houston), established esports organization known for its passionate global fan base.
As with previously announced teams, these new additions include owners with experience in both traditional sports and competitive gaming.
The esports economy will grow 41.3 percent to $696 million in 2017, according to market researcher Newzoo. If Overwatch League succeeds, it could help grow competitive gaming even more.
Blizzard also announced that the pre-season for Overwatch League will start on December 6. The regular season will begin on January 10 and run until June. The playoffs and finals will take place in July.
“Overwatch League has felt like the start of something special from the beginning,” Mike Rufail, owner and chief executive officer of Dallas’s Team Envy, told GamesBeat. “I think this was a very unique way for us to approach esports and really get a sense for where we are as an industry. It has been exciting to be a part of something so fresh.”
Most competitive gaming focuses on private teams or individual players. The Overwatch League is instead adopting the professional sports model of having teams headquartered in and representing major cities.
“I’m so humbled to have the opportunity for our team to represent Dallas,” Rufail told GamesBeat. “It’s a dream realized for me as I’m a born and raised Texan who has experienced the highs and lows of Dallas professional sports teams. Our organization will always owe the fans here a winning team, and we’re ready for that journey.”