Blizzard is selling Overwatch League spots in Vancouver, Canada, and Chengdu, China, according to ESPN. As a result, they will be the final two teams joining the league this offseason.
Sources: @overwatchleague finalizes expansion sales process with addition of teams in Vancouver, British Columbia (@Canucks ownership) and Chengdu, China ($HUYA). https://t.co/v7PLoOibYW
— Jacob Wolf (@JacobWolf) September 5, 2018
Huya, the popular Chinese streaming platform, will be owning the Chengdu spot. Huya is comparable to American broadcasting site, Twitch.tv. They broadcast several big esports events, including the Overwatch League. Therefore, they are the third Chinese team to join the Overwatch League this expansion period. The platform will be joining Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Guangzhou as representatives of China in the league.
Meanwhile, Aquilini Investment Group will own the Vancouver slot and team. Aquilini is the owner of the Canucks Sports and Entertainment, the parent group of the Vancouver Canucks hockey team. They also own the Rogers Arena, which would recently host DOTA 2’s The International. It is Canucks Sports and Entertainment’s first foray into the esports scene. Also, they are the second Canadian team to join the Overwatch League after the Toronto team.
No European additions?
With the final two teams chosen for the Overwatch League, this means that there are no more available slots to be bought. Many people were speculating where Blizzard could situate the other cities. Fans were thinking that they would probably choose a team up in Europe, especially with the lack of representation. Unfortunately, this was not the case for this upcoming season. However, there are multiple reasons for this.
One, building a fanbase for a European team can be quite difficult. Games are all playing in Los Angeles, where all the teams reside. Therefore, all the games’ timing is horrible for European viewers. They must watch the games at very late times, or they’ll just have to settle for the replays. Unfortunately, the fan interaction simply is not the same when you compare to American teams. As a result, many organizations and investors may not see a European market to invest in yet.
How can this be fixed in the future?
While the Overwatch League is still young, it is understandable that they stay regionally bound for now. However, when thinking about the future and longevity of the league, one must consider creating separate leagues for regions. For example, League of Legends has teams all across the world, with different regional leagues. North America has the NA LCS, Europe has the EU LCS, Korea has the LCK, and so on. Maybe, to help grow a fanbase and viewership in Europe, they could think about creating a separate league for each region. Afterward, they could then have a World Championship tournament, featuring the best teams from each region.
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