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Report: Overwatch League Expansion Slots to be Priced $30M-$60M

Overwatch League

Expansion slots for the Overwatch League are expected to be priced between $30 million and $60 million, according a report from ESPN

The Overwatch League began its first season in January, featuring 12 teams. Several of the esports circuit’s teams are backed by prominent firms and names from major sports, including New England Patriots (NFL) and New England Revolution (MLS) owner Robert Kraft, who owns the Boston Uprising.

Activision Blizzard is seeking to expand the Overwatch League, and is reportedly expected to price slots between $30 million and $60 million. Multiple factors will determine the exact price of each slot, according to ESPN:

The exact price for each slot will depend on several factors. Among the factors are general population of the area where the team would be based and the number of players who play Overwatch within that region, sources said. Additionally, if a single market has multiple interested buyers, the price is subject to being raised as those suitors bid against one another, according to sources.

The 12 franchises taking part in the inaugural season of Overwatch League, which began in January, paid $20 million each to Activision Blizzard for those franchise spots, which were sold in the summer and fall of 2017.

The increase is in line with a number of factors, including a significant spike in quoted evaluations of esports organizations, particularly those that have franchise slots in both the Overwatch League and the North American League of Legends Championship Series. Last summer, top North American esports organizations, such as Cloud9 and Immortals, were valued between $100 million and $140 million, and some organizations are now valued at around $160 million to $200 million, according to sources.

Activision Blizzard will hope to sell anywhere from four to six expansion slots in the next season, with targets in North American and international cities. Sources said several organizations both endemic and not endemic to esports who did not buy in last year have a fear of missing out on being included in the top franchised esports leagues.

As noted, some teams in the Overwatch League have become investments for many high-profile groups from major sports. That includes Comcast Spectacor (Philadelphia Fusion), Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (Los Angeles Gladiators), and Sterling VC (New York Excelsior), which is controlled by the Wilpons, the owners of MLB’s New York Mets.