A new report from ESPN, which cites unnamed sources, is claiming that two new teams have almost been finalised for inclusion in the second season of the Overwatch League. This involves teams representing Paris, France, and Guangzhou, China.
It has previously been reported that expansion slots for the league – which is owned and operated by Activision Blizzard – are going for anywhere up to $60m (£45.8m).
The Paris slot – if finalised as expected – will be owned by McCourt Global, a holding company based in Los Angeles. The Guangzhou spot is set to be bought by Nenking Group, an umbrella company owned by billionaire Zhong Naixiong.
The report goes on to explain that six expansion slots are expected to be sold within the next month, with emphasis on acquiring buyers outside of the U.S. As it stands, the Overwatch League has nine teams based in the United States, two teams that represent cities in Asia, and one team based in Europe.
Keeping that perhaps-alarming ratio in mind, it’s clear that there’s a strong – if not commanding – viewership for the league outside of the U.S., with Chinese viewing numbers being almost 10-times the amount of non-Chinese viewers (Stage 4 statistics were used for this example). With these statistics in mind, it’s sensible for Activision Blizzard to be bringing in (at least) one more China-based team.
Another thing that sticks out is that McCourt Global owns French football club Olympique de Marseille, but the spot that the company is looking to purchase is for Paris. This is a strange move from the outside, especially when you consider that the two cities are considered arch-enemies.
Are we going to see the Paris Wizards join the Overwatch League? The well-known phrase “Paris est magique” translates to “Paris is magic”, so we wouldn’t rule this name out – nor one to a similar effect – until it’s announced otherwise.
Esports Insider says: The most exciting development out of this report is that Activision Blizzard is looking beyond the United States to find buyers for the expansion slots. Whether it tries to tap into a location that’s less-exposed to esports is to be seen, but it’s a possibility.