Overwatch League will welcome eight more teams before the start of the 2019 season.
Joining the previously announced new franchises from Atlanta and Guangzhou are six teams hailing from Chengdu, Hangzhou, Paris, Toronto, Vancouver, and Washington, D.C. For those keeping track at home, that means that Canada is adding its first two teams to the competition while China adds a pretty surprising three more teams to the Overwatch League (the Shanghai Dragons, the only existing OWL team from China, posted a winless record during the league’s debut season).
Activision Blizzard’s Bobby Kotick noted that “fans spent 160 million hours watching the leading Overwatch players in the world compete” during the first season of the OWL and that Activision Blizzard is “thrilled to add eight new outstanding team owners from Europe, China, and North America to our Overwatch League ownership group.” With these new addition’s the OWL team count stands at 20.
The OWL certainly seems to be successful so far from a sheer revenue standpoint, and we imagine that these eight new teams would not have joined the League unless they were confident that there is enough to go around.
What remains to be seen is where these new teams are going to get players from. There’s no shortage of competitive Overwatch players from around the world who aren’t currently signed to an OWL team, but OWL’s first season featured a noticeable skill gap between the best and worst teams. That being the case, we do wonder whether or not these new teams will be able to be immediately competitive and whether some kind of “draft” system will need to be implemented in order to keep the competition fair.
Hopefully, Blizzard will reveal more information about how OWL season two will work now that there are many more teams in the mix.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.