Blizzard wants to add six more Overwatch League teams

Blizzard said in February that the Overwatch League would likely expand for its second season, although details beyond that basic intent to grow weren't available at the time. In a recent interview with German site Handelsblatt, Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues CEO Pete Vlastelica elaborated on the plan, saying that Blizzard wants to add six more teams to the league: Two from the Americas, two from Asia-Pacific, and two from Europe and the Middle East. 

Although teams adopt the names of their host cities around the world, all Overwatch League play happens in Burbank, California at the Blizzard Arena. All Overwatch League teams reside in the area.

Vlastelica said Blizzard is focusing on Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, and "some Scandinavian regions," but he also committed to Berlin specifically. "Germany plays an important role for us. This is particularly true of Berlin with its rich history of esports, founder scene, and liveliness. Add to this the demographic profile and the cultural significance of the city," he said. 

"We want a team in Berlin. We hold many discussions and, without being able to reveal details, we will have a team there at the latest next year." (The quote is Google translated, but the intent is unambiguous.)   

"Discussions with stakeholders" have also taken place in France, Spain, and Sweden, Vlastelica said, although he declined to say which were most likely to get a franchise or when it might happen. He likewise declined to say how much expansion teams will cost: It was reported, but never confirmed, that the original Overwatch League franchises sold for $20 million each, but Blizzard said during its February 2018 earnings call that the price for expansion franchises will likely be higher. Sources told ESPN last May that Blizzard was struggling to establish teams because the fees were too high, but Vlastelica said the initial round of franchises actually "exceeded expectations," and added, "It is clear that the value of franchises in our league has increased since then." 

Interestingly, while Blizzard had been expected to incorporate proper home-and-away games in the league's second season, that's not going to happen: Vlastelica said second season games will be held in Los Angeles, the same as the first, and that it's aiming to bring games to home markets beginning in the third season.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.