The 23 investors pouring millions into Overwatch esports teams — from Patriots owner Robert Kraft to Chinese conglomerates (ATVI)

  • Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League is one of the most popular esports competitions in the world, with professional gamers representing 20 teams based in North America, China, South Korea, and Europe.
  • The original 12 Overwatch League teams invested $20 million during the league’s inaugural season, and eight expansion teams were willing to pay between $30 and $60 million to join the league in its second year, ESPN reported.
  • Activision Blizzard’s esports investors range from Chinese conglomerates and professional sports teams to cybersecurity experts and social-media companies.
  • Here’s a list of everyone who’s invested millions to be part of the Overwatch League.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The 12 founding teams in Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League paid $20 million each to participate in the inaugural season, but the price to invest in the one of the world’s most popular esports league has gone up, according to Jacob Wolf of ESPN.

The Overwatch League added eight new expansion teams ahead of its second season in 2019, growing the roster to 20 international franchises. Activision Blizzard asked each of the new expansion teams to pay between $30 and $60 million each for the franchise rights to join the league, ESPN reported.

Franchise investors range from endemic esports organizations with venture-capitalist backing to international media conglomerates and long-standing sports franchises like the New England Patriots. The latest new owner, Beasley Broadcast Group, paid $35 million to acquire the Houston Outlaws from Immortals Gaming in November 2019, Forbes reported.

Each Overwatch League team is based in a home city, though not all of the owners are based in the same region. Live Overwatch events bring in thousands of fans and the league is confident that having local teams will produce more passionate esports fans.

Season three of the Overwatch League began on February 8 and runs through September. Viewership increased by about 16% during the Overwatch League’s second season and Activision’s success led to the creation of the company’s second franchised esports initiative in 2020, the Call of Duty League.

Ten existing owners in the Overwatch League paid $25 million each to join the Call of Duty League’s first season too, demonstrating their commitment to Activision’s business model in the process, ESPN reported.

Here’s a breakdown of all 20 ownership groups in Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League:

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