We’ve been following the unfolding news on the Overwatch League for quite some time, and while most of it has been sad news surrounding endemic esports teams dropping their Overwatch teams, two days ago we got a breath of fresh air as six potential buyers were rumoured to be ready to take up slots in the Overwatch League. That warm feeling didn’t last long as Richard Lewis, popular esports journalist, revealed some new sources stating that sporting brands are also concerned about the Overwatch League and Activision Blizzard.
Sources have told Richard Lewis that Activision Blizzard, during negotiations, mentioned that a Call of Duty League similar to the Overwatch League is set to begin six months after the start of the OWL. This is still in the early stages of planning, but what annoyed sporting brands is that if you have a state or team for the OWL you’re still going to have to purchase a slot in the COD League.
“Imagine the situation” one source told Richard Lewis. “You secure the city you want, create the brand, enter the Overwatch league and then all the Call of Duty fans in that area support a competitor because we didn’t want to pay millions more just to have that right. We’re not alone in thinking that is an awful deal. A deal of this size with a developer should be a mutually beneficial partnership.”
Sporting brands are also concerned about putting in as much as $20 million for a slot and now clear communication has been offered by Blizzard on the return of this investment. Some publications have compared them to other sporting leagues where as much as 25% revenue share from franchise sales go to the invested teams, but these are for leagues which have existed for decades. The news and leaks regarding the OWL are painting a bad light for Blizzard as the uncertainty grows. Sporting brands are starting to question, but what’s more worrying is sponsors who have reportedly pulled out of discussions as prices are continuously being pushed up.
The sponsor was not named, but it was said that they had been involved in other major esports brands.
“The sponsor said that for the money Blizzard were asking they could have bought into the NFL” a source informed Richard Lewis, “and Blizzard told them that this league will be bigger than the NFL. At that point they pulled out.”
It’s concerning, to say the least, and in the meantime, the smaller Overwatch competitions are starting to stagnate as questions about the future of the esport are raised weekly.
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Last Updated: July 11, 2017