Philadelphia and Houston spots have been purchased for $20 million each, sources told ESPN. Comcast Spectacor, a Philadelphia-based sports and entertainment firm that owns the Philadelphia Flyers, will operate the Philadelphia team, while OpTic Gaming and Texas Rangers co-owner Neil Leibman will take a Houston spot.
This report brings the Overwatch League 12 teams, though three have yet to be confirmed—OpTic in Houston, Team EnVyUs in Austin-Dallas, and Comcast Spectacor in Philadelphia. Teams have been announced for Boston, New York, London, Miami-Orlando, San Francisco, Shanghai, Seoul, and Los Angeles. Among those cities, teams are owned by a selection of major players in both esports and sports, like New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Immortals owner Noah Whinston.
ESPN sources noted that Blizzard is looking to recruit a total of 14 teams for the inaugural season.
Blizzard is also reportedly courting Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wesley Edens. ESPN reported the NBA owner is likely to accept the offer and take a franchise spot in Chicago. The deal and city has not yet been finalized, however—sources said both can still change. Edens’ esports organization FlyQuest will operate the Overwatch League team. Involvement from Edens and FlyQuest brings the total Overwatch League franchises up to 13.
Edens and FlyQuest will have to rebrand specifically for the Overwatch League, as will all participants. Several organizations have asked the public for help in naming their Overwatch League names. None have been made public just yet.
The Overwatch League is expected to kick off later this year.