Just a few days after the inaugural season wrapped up, Blizzard has announced two new teams for its fledgling Overwatch League. For season two, clubs in Atlanta and Guangzhou will join the league, bringing the total number of teams to 14.
The Atlanta team is owned by a new company called Atlanta Esports Ventures, backed by Cox Enterprises, a massive conglomerate based in the city. Guangzhou, meanwhile, is owned by Chinese financial and entertainment company Nenking Group, which also operates the pro basketball team Guangzhou Long Lions. The names and branding for both teams have yet to be revealed. “We know Atlanta and Guangzhou have deeply engaged fan communities and we can’t wait to unveil their teams,” league commissioner Nate Nanzer said in a statement.
The Overwatch League debuted in January as a particularly ambitious e-sports league, one based on the city-centric model utilized by pro sports leagues like the NBA and NFL. The first season featured a dozen teams, including nine in the US, as well as clubs in China, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. Last weekend, the league held its championship at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where the London Spitfire won a two-match series against the Philadelphia Fusion. Blizzard says that “the estimated global average minute audience across both days of the Grand Finals was 861,205.” The series was broadcast on both Twitch and ESPN.
The two new teams likely won’t be the last additions for season two, which kicks off next year. Last week ESPN reported that a Paris-based club was also in the works, and Nanzer has previously expressed a desire to expand the roster of teams outside of the US. It’s been reported that up to six more teams could join the league for its second season. “Our focus for season two and three expansion is to add more teams in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, to really make this a truly global league with a global footprint,”
The league will be holding its all-star game on August 25th in Los Angeles, and there’s a good chance we’ll hear some news on additional teams then.