The Overwatch League’s inaugural season is over, and it’s time to prepare for season two.
Six teams are expected to join the league ahead of its 2019 start, but the Overwatch League front office has confirmed two new cities for the second season: Guangzhou, China, and Atlanta. ESPN reported their inclusion in Overwatch League’s second season last week. Blizzard has not confirmed ESPN’s third expansion report, slated for Paris with Los Angeles-based holding company McCourt Global.
“After thrilling fans with an amazing grand finals at the Barclays Center, we’re excited to follow that up by expanding the Overwatch League next season,” Activision-Blizzard esports league’s CEO and president Pete Vlastelica said in a statement. “We’re pleased to add the Atlanta and Guangzhou teams to the ownership group, and we look forward to bringing the league to even more fans across both regions in 2019.”
Atlanta-based conglomerate Cox Enterprises has partnered with consulting firm Province, Inc. to create Atlanta Esports Ventures to run the Overwatch League team. In Guangzhou, Nenking Group, “a financial and entertainment conglomerate” and owner of Chinese Basketball Association’s the Guangzhou Long Lions, will run the second Chinese-based Overwatch League team.
“The Nenking Group and the Long Lions have deep roots in this region, and we can’t wait to represent our city on the world stage and make our fans proud,” Nenking Group chairman Zhong Naizong said.
Teams will reveal their official names and logos “soon,” according to Blizzard. Further information about more expansion teams and the 2019 season schedule is expected “at a later date.”
The Overwatch League isn’t expected to start its localization process for season two; that’ll start later down the road. “There are millions of fans around the world that don’t get an opportunity to come to these events,” Overwatch League commissioner Nate Nanzer told Dot Esports last week. “Our goal is to get the teams into the home markets and give people in Houston, people in Shanghai, people in Seoul, people in Dallas, an opportunity to engage with the content live.”
Blizzard wants to create more “regional hubs” for Overwatch League fans, with touchstones scattered across the globe. Further expansion in China is a start. Despite the Overwatch League being considered a global league, there are only four teams outside of North America—the new Guangzhou team, London Spitfire, Shanghai Dragons, and Seoul Dynasty.
The Overwatch League’s first season ended on July 28 with London Spitfire sweeping Philadelphia Fusion in the grand finals. Select players will return to Blizzard Arena Los Angeles in Burbank, California for All-Star Weekend, held Aug. 25 to 26.