Teams representing Paris and Guangzhou, China, are set to join the Overwatch League as part of its expansion, according to a report by ESPN’s Jacob Wolf.
Blizzard is currently finalizing deals with Los Angeles-based holding company McCourt Global and China’s Nenking Group. Both groups have ventures in the traditional sports realm, with McCourt Global owning Olympique de Marseilles, a French soccer team, and the Nenking Group owning the Guangzhou Long-Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association.
If completed, the deals would mark the first time an expansion team has entered the league. League commissioner Nate Nanzer said in April that cities outside of the United States, especially those in Europe, would be the focus when the league expands before the second season kicks off next year. Specifically, Berlin was named as a key city in the league’s expansion plans earlier this summer, but no reports of a deal for a German OWL team have surfaced.
A previous report by ESPN estimated expansion spots would sell for around $30 to 60 million and that four to six teams would join the league during the offseason. New York Excelsior player captain Park “Saebyeolbe” Jong-ryoel told Dot Esports yesterday that he’s heard six new teams are joining the league.
The new buy-in price triples that of the league’s inaugural season, with the 12 initial teams paying $20 million each. OWL’s success so far has likely contributed to the steep jump, with an average of 80,000 to 170,000 concurrent viewers tuning in to matches.
Official announcements of the new teams will likely come after the conclusion of the Overwatch League finals tomorrow at 6pm CT, a matchup between the London Spitfire and the Philadelphia Fusion. The Spitfire gunned down the second seed Los Angeles Valiant in the semifinals to make it through, while the Fusion overcame the top seeded New York Excelsior.