Stan and Josh Kroenke, owners of a number of sports teams including the Los Angeles Rams, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids, and Arsenal F.C., have added an Overwatch League Los Angeles franchise to their sports holdings portfolio, according to Sports Business Daily. The price of the deal has not been disclosed, but Activision has reportedly been seeking $15–$20 million for the premiere franchises of the league.
Activision announced some rather gaudy earnings in last week’s 2017 Q2 report, and Overwatch was a large part of that equation:
- Blizzard had the biggest quarterly online player community in its history with a record 46 million MAUsB, up 38% year‐over‐year. The Overwatch community continued to grow more than a year after launch, setting another all‐time MAUB record with the release of two seasonal events in the quarter. Hearthstone® MAUsB grew year‐over‐year and quarter‐over‐quarter to an all‐time record, driven by its expansion, Journey to Un’Goro™.
- Blizzard had Q2‐record time spent. In April, Blizzard launched Uprising, an Overwatch seasonal event that included a player‐versus‐environment mode that drew record play time. Overwatch’s Anniversary event in May and June also drove strong engagement with record participation in customization items. Time spent in World of Warcraft® grew year‐over‐year in the second quarter, and the Legion™ expansion continued to perform ahead of the prior expansion.
- Blizzard announced the first seven team sales for the Overwatch League, the first major global professional esports league with city‐based teams, and the league is set to begin its inaugural competitive season later this year.
It appears this league concept, which combines eSports with the more traditional location-based team franchise concept, is gaining traction quickly. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft — widely considered one of the most astute team owners in all of professional sports — recently bought the Boston Overwatch League franchise, while New York Mets owner Jeff Wilpon has acquired the New York franchise.
The Overwatch League is expected to begin an abbreviated debut season this fall, with a full season to follow in 2018.
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