Overwatch League Adding New Teams, Targeting Asia, EU
OWL Commissioner Nate Nanzer talked league expansion to investors in Activision earnings call.
ESPN's Jacob Wolf says expansion is targeting Asia and Europe
The Overwatch League has dominated Twitch over the last two months, and Blizzard's latest eSports play has the company eager to expand it to new markets. In today's Activision-Blizzard earnings call, OWL commissioner Nate Nanzer told investors that the league would be expanded, bringing in brand new teams to the competition.
On Twitter, ESPN's Jacob Wolf says that Nanzer is targeting Europe and Asia, traditionally the two most dominant eSports regions. It's worth noting that prior to the announcement of the first season's 12 teams, a 13th team based in Chicago was rumored to have been backed by the FlyQuest organization. If new teams are being added, it's possible that this team may have a shot even amidst the overseas additions.
With Asian-lead teams such as London Spitfire and Seoul Dynasty showing extremely strong performances in the first stage, the expansion of Asian teams is sure to rally the region's viewers to the league. Korean players currently make up a large portion of the league's active players, even on non-Asian teams such as London Spitfire and New York Excelsior. Broadening the scope of areas with their own teams is sure to bring countless new viewers, even if the city designations are mostly nominal.
It's not surprising that Europe is being pursued in the league's expansion, though. A dominant region for CounterStrike, the EU is a natural fit. Europe's sole team, the London Spitfire, has an exclusively Korean roster, with the team's own marketing targeting the players' fans back in Asia. There's no doubt that plenty of extremely skilled European players would jump at the chance to play in the Overwatch League if given the chance; and it's a certainty that a European audience would come out to watch them play.
The Overwatch League has left a strong impression on the eSports world, and attracted a wide viewership. It was only a matter of time before the league would expand, and seeing it this quickly is an encouraging sign.