Overwatch League to add Washington, D.C. and Hangzhou franchises

According to a report by ESPN, Activision Blizzard have sold two additional spots in the Overwatch League to Washington, D.C. and Hangzhou, China.

The report states the Washington, D.C. franchise will be funded by a new group led by Mark Ein, his Capitol Investment Corporation and other venture capital groups. Ein is the owner of World Team Tennis team, the Washington Kastles, and a minority owner of aXiomatic, parent company of Team Liquid.

Washington, D.C. is a prominent esports area in North America as the capital of the country and headquarters for esports organisation NRG with sponsorship from the official convention and sports authority, EventsDC.

The Hangzhou, China franchise will be owned by Chinese video sharing website Bilibili.

No financial details have been released on the expansion teams but it has previously been reported they would be sold anywhere from $30m (£22m) and $60m (£44m), up from the $20m the inaugural franchises paid.

Blizzard previously stated the second season expansion would stop at 18 teams total, which it will have reached after adding Washington, D.C. and Hangzhou, but will now further expand to 20 total. The two spots will be an addition to fellow expansion teams: Atlanta, Georgia owned by Cox Enterprises, Toronto, Ontario owned by the Kimel Family and Splyce, Paris, France owned by McCourt Global and Guangzhou, China owned by the Nenking Group.

Blizzard has stated numerous times it hoped to expand further outside of North America for the second season of the Overwatch League and with the two additions this would cement 11 teams in the United States, one in Canada, two in Europe and four in Asia.

The Overwatch League is currently in the free agency window, meaning expansion teams have until October 7th to sign free agent players. With that as the due date, it’s likely we’ll see announcements of the other two franchised positions in the next month. 

As the Overwatch League has grown in its inaugural season it’s also grabbed the attention of major sponsors with partnerships alongside Spotify, Disney, Sour Patch Kids and T-Mobile.

Esports Insider says: Our predictions are 3/5 so far on Overwatch League teams in the United States. While fans are begging for more teams outside of the States it looks like Blizzard is trying hard to keep its promise. Although this still leaves only two franchises in Europe, the league still has two more teams to sign so all hope is not lost for fans. 

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