Blizzard's eSports initiative, the Overwatch League, could make up to $720 million a year says a new report. Announced last year, the the game's eSports League aims to copy the NBA, the NFL, and other traditional sports leagues by establishing regional fan bases with teams in different cities.
According to a new report from investment management firm Morgan Stanley, the Overwatch League could make a base amount of $100 million a year. Out of 25 million Overwatch players, just 72,000 would have to be "average active viewers" during the season and 7.7 million would need to tune in during the playoffs in order to reach 100 million.
Though a loftier estimate, which would depend on a "confident market," could see the league make as much as $720 million a year. This would put it right up there with the WWE and would be a 20% higher revenue than the MLS (Major League Soccer).
In order for Overwatch developer Blizzard to make that much from the eSports initiative, 32 teams would have to take part rather than 16, 75,000 viewers would have to tune in to season matches (12 million for the playoffs), and Activision would need to leverage Major League Gaming (which it bought to create the 'ESPN of eSports'). That's not impossible, but it's certainly a challenge.
At the worst case scenario, Morgan Stanley says that the Overwatch League will make just $20 million a year and could be written off as a "fad." Admittedly, this seems highly unlikely given the huge interest surrounding the game and its professional players as is. For example, just several days ago, a pro player made headlines when they pulled off an incredible Reinhardt play, astounding both hardcore Overwatch fans and even casual gamers who have only heard of Blizzard's multiplayer shooter in passing.
Blizzard will really have to leverage this sort of thing – along with content licensing, advertising and sponsorships, which are all mentioned in the Morgan Stanley report – in order to grow the league. But although it's too soon to say that the developer will succeed in doing all of that, many would be agree that it's naive to think that the Overwatch League won't experience some amount of success.
Overwatch is now available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
Source: Dot eSports