The first season of the Overwatch League is underway and Blizzard’s latest eSpoorts initiative seems to be a huge success so far, having racked up millions of views in its very first week. In fact, the league is so successful that Blizzard has plans to expand the eSports competition even more in future.
Blizzard has confirmed that it would like to expand the current line-up of Overwatch League teams, specifically encouraging investors and organizations in Europe and Asia to get involved. However, a new report from ESPN suggests that the company may have a difficult time getting investors involved.
A report from the publication reveals that while the buy-in fee for new Overwatch League teams is not yet set in stone, sources familiar with the matter say that the costs could be somewhere between $35-60 million. It reportedly cost $20 million for each team to take part in the very first season of the Overwatch League – a price that was already too high for many European and Asian investors, so this increased cost will prove to be a significant hurdle going into season two.
ESPN explains that this is because European and Asian investors see investments like Overwatch League much differently than their American counterparts. European investors want the Overwatch League to offer more security, South Korean investors don’t see that the Overwatch League will help their businesses, and Chinese investors don’t have experience in the eSports field and some of them see potential conflicts of interest.
Overwatch has over 35 million players around the world and this figure continues to grow with every free weekend and limited time event that takes people’s interest. The global appeal of the game means that there is even more of a reason to establish more regional Overwatch League teams and take advantage of its international fanbase. But Blizzard will have a hard time doing that without European and Asian investors – though the cited report does suggest that American investors with European sports teams could be one possible avenue.
The league has just found a major new sponsor in car manufacturer Toyota and the sale of Overwatch League skins in-game will also positively impact Blizzard’s bottom line. However, Blizzard would surely prefer to make bank from those $60 million buy-ins and establish Overwatch League’s presence internationally. International fans will also be hoping that Blizzard is able to work things out with these potential international investors, too.
Overwatch is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.