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According to ESPN, the Overwatch League is selling spots in Washington D.C. and Hangzhou, China. This will bring the total amount of teams in the league to eighteen, after the spots they would sell in Atlanta, Toronto, Paris and Guangzhou, China. The league says that they are looking to sell two more teams before the expansion period ends.
— ESPN Esports (@ESPN_Esports) September 5, 2018
Sources are also saying that the funding for the Washington D.C. slot would be led by Mark Ein and other affiliated venture capital groups and investors. Ein is the owner of the Washington Kastles, one of six organizations in World Team Tennis. Also, he is a minority owner of aXiomatic, the parent company of esports organization, Team Liquid. Multimedia giant Disney is also an investor of aXiomatic.
On the other hand, sources say that the Hangzhou slot is selling to Chinese video sharing website Bilibili. This will be the second Chinese team to join the Overwatch League this offseason. Additionally, Hangzhou will be the third Chinese team in the Overwatch League overall. Buy-in prices for each league spot will vary, as prior sources would say that spots would sell for $35 to $60 million a piece. The Toronto slot, which would be bought by Splyce and OverActive Media, reportedly sold for $35 million.
Expansion teams will get the chance to sign free agents this Sunday. Teams will be able to sign players until October 7, where the signing period ends. They will be able to acquire any player that any Overwatch team has released or any competitors in amateur leagues or in the Overwatch Contenders. Therefore, a plethora of players is at these new teams’ disposal. One team that could be a great pickup is the 2018 Korean Overwatch Contender champs, RunAway.
RunAway is a fan-favorite team from Korea, who have a giant fanbase and a great collection of players. They are owned, managed and personally financed by popular streamers and couple, Dae-hoon “Runner” Yoon and Lee “Flowervin” Hyuna. They also have a three-year-old baby girl! RunAway would win the Season Two Overwatch Contenders championship in Korea. The Korean Overwatch scene has been the birth place of multiple successful Overwatch League organizations. For example, the ultra-talented New York Excelsior lineup comes from the Korean team, LW Blue. Lunatic-Hai, another Korean-based organization, would provide the entire lineup of the Seoul Dynasty.
In fact, according to Flowervin’s stream, RunAway has been receiving multiple offers from different teams. Also, some organizations want to buy the whole team, including Flowervin and the management structure. However, there are many hurdles for that to work out, so it is a difficult decision to make. It would be in a team’s best interests to acquire the entirety of the team, in order to keep team synergy at an all-time high. The support system and direction that Flowervin and Runner give is incredibly important to Runaway’s success. Without the two of them, I do not see the RunAway roster doing too well.
What do you think of Washington D.C. and Hangzhou getting Overwatch spots? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! If you want more Overwatch League coverage, check us out here!