Activision is set to move its Overwatch League out of LA to new homes across the globe in a “huge step for eSports”.
Starting in 2020, most of the Overwatch League’s 20 franchises will leave LA, where they’ve been based for two years.
They’ll be set up in New York, Paris, Shanghai and other cities, as the gaming industry continues to model its future on traditional organisations like the NFL and NBA.
Nate Nanzer, the league’s commissioner, made the announcement at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas.
eSports is a rapidly growing industry, set to challenge NFL with a predicted 300 million viewers by 2022.
eSports becoming more like traditional sports teams
“This is a step that brings the business model for eSports teams closer to the business model of traditional sports teams,” said Nanzer.
He continued: “If you look at the business model of traditional sports teams, so much of the value is driven by the fact that, if I am an LA Dodgers fan, no matter where I’m from in the world, there’s a place I can go to celebrate that team with other fans.
“Bringing that to eSports, we think, is not just a huge step for Overwatch League, but a huge step for eSports.”
Each franchise will have a home venue by 2020. Nanzer said that franchises will settle on spaces with 3,000 to 5,000 seats that can also host small concerts or grassroots eSports events.
Nanzer also stated that home venues should help with merchandise sales.
A new report by Activision Blizzard and Newzoo, ‘Betting on Billions: Unlocking the Power of Mobile Gamers‘, has also found that mobile gamers are more receptive to advertisements which are 23 percent more influential with their purchase decisions than for non-gamers.
Tencent increases investment in China
Meanwhile, top gaming group Tencent is increasing its investment in eSports tournaments in China, aided by subsidies from local governments.
Local governments in China are subsidising eSports competitions to boost economic growth.
Previously, Blooloop spoke with industry experts Professor Andy Miah and Brian Mirakian about the growth of eSports and what this will mean for the visitor experience.