I’m pretty sure unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few days you’re up to date on all of the Overwatch news regarding the Overwatch League. There are rumors floating around that “spots” can be purchased from Overwatch with prices ranging from $2M – $15M.
Let’s talk about the price for a moment. What’s $2M – $5M to a current team/org owner? A LOT! I can almost count on one hand the current orgs who can afford a spot in this league based on the rumored price ranges. Let’s stop and think for a moment… What if Blizzard doesn’t want traditional orgs to have league spots? We’re just assuming they would want the nV’s, C9, TSM, Fanatic, NAVI’s and others part of this league.
What if they don’t? What if Blizzard wants to truly set this league up just like a copy of the NFL for example? How would that be received by the community? Let us not forget this statement based on this statement I can only assume Blizzard are going to take players rankings from the in-game season ranks and apply a top 500, 1,000, etc. list of players who can go into a “draft” for these CITIES… yes, CITIES not “spots.”
I fully believe you will see cities with arenas/stadiums potentially making bids to bring Esports orgs to their city in the future. For now, I’m thinking you will see a lot of traditional sports teams jumping into the mix as a way to help fill stadiums/arenas on open dates and so on. I also believe you will be seeing traditional sports teams from the NBA and the NFL making the largest investments into Overwatch.
With that being said, this leads me to my next question. Does Blizzard need the current orgs for the league to have a chance? No, the players hold the power, not the orgs. For most Esports titles the players have all of the influencing power, and the orgs that they play for have very little influencing power. There are only a few exceptions to this rule, and most of them are initially console based orgs like OpTic Gaming, and FaZe for example, who have a lot of influencing power.
Now that we’ve talked about traditional sports teams entering the mix for Overwatch teams.. the rumored numbers don’t seem so crazy do they? What’s $10M to someone like Jerry Jones? What’s $15M to Jerry Buss? Regarding what they’re spending on their respectful teams, not that much.
With the power of new media and Esports if you can’t see how this would be a fantastic investment IF managed right, then I don’t know what else to tell you. A lot of money is pouring into Esports right now, and the best part is we’re still on the ground level of it. Just wait until the massive brands turn their marketing budgets and attention to the influencing power of Esports.