Los Angeles has a new "home town team" and a potential bidder for its Overwatch league spot
The TCL Chinese Theatre and Hammers Esports have launched a new local Los Angeles "home town team." The Hollywood Hammers, as the team is supposed to be called, will field rosters in Overwatch, Vainglory, and Clash Royale. It will be based out of the TCL Chinese Theatre, located on Hollywood Boulevard's Walk of Fame, and run by a new joint venture of the two companies called Hollywood Esports.
"We are bringing to Los Angeles an exceptional esports franchise to become our local team," said Robert K. Laity, CEO of the TCL Chinese Theatre. "The esports world deserves a local fan base in addition to a global following in much the same way that other sports like basketball, football, and baseball have strong and close affiliations with fans in major cities across the US. Los Angeles now has its newest team to follow and support."
Backed by the TCL Corporation, a billion-dollar Chinese electronics company, Hollywood Esports boasts huge ambitions, including a tournament schedule, an esports show called "Tournament Tuesday," and TCL Chinese Theatre's previously announced full motion esports theatre—imagine moving chairs like in a flight simulator with large screens and lots of special effects—in partnership with MediaMation. Creating a new "home town team" in Los Angeles is probably the Hammers' most ambitious goal, though.
LA is an esports epicenter in the West. League of Legends developer Riot Games is headquartered in LA, and so is the NA LCS studio. That's reason enough for the likes of Cloud9, TSM, Immortals, and Echo Fox to situate themselves in or nearby La-La Land. The Hollywood Hammers don't field a League of Legends team, but do compete in Overwatch. That's significant, because LA's spot in Blizzard's upcoming Overwatch League is considered one of the hottest properties on the market.
That spot could cost between $10 and $15 million, Sports Business Daily reported in March. Since then, even higher numbers have circulated for other spots. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is reportedly willing to pay about $20 million for a spot in the highly-anticipated league.
At the same time, uncertainty about the league's start date date and the high cost of entry has resulted in many endemic esports clubs dropping their Overwatch teams. Hollywood Hammers' parent company TCL, which reported $16 billion in revenue in 2015, has a big enough war chest to still bid on the city's spot—though Blizzard has set its eyes on traditional sports clubs for the OWL, according to multiple reports.
It's noteworthy on its own that TCL Chinese Theatre houses a professional esports organization, of course. It brings Hollywood and esports closer together and could very well raise esports' profile among Hollywood celebrities, who frequently visit the historic movie palace. Nearly 200 footprints, handprints, and autographs of Hollywood's most famous can be found in the concrete of the theater's forecourt. Unsurprisingly Hammers Esports founder and CEO King "KIMA" Perez De Tagle is looking forward to the organization's new home arena.
"As the Hollywood Hammers, our teams welcome other competing esports teams to challenge us in our home arena," Perez de Tagle said.
And to be honest, that's a pretty attractive offer.