Blizzard has reportedly begun approaching potential franchise buyers for the Overwatch League, selling the dream of esports for exuberant sums of money.
According to Sports Business Journal, top executives of Blizzard are confident that franchises from smaller markets will sell from $2 million to $5 million. For larger markets, such as Los Angeles, the company is seeking a value between $10 million and $15 million for a single team slot.
The acquisition price of a slot in the Overwatch League appears to be pretty high, a notion that is shared by industry experts and market-goers.
Despite its overwhelming popularity, Overwatch is still a product that has not even enjoyed its first anniversary. While other games had to organically grow in the market for years to establish themselves as leading esports ventures, Overwatch is yet to prove itself as a premium “spectator property” that will draw millions of fans to help franchise owners earn back their investment.
A silver lining lies in the fact that Overwatch League will feature permanent slots. Teams will not be relegated due to poor performances, allowing their owners to stay in the market for as long as possible. Blizzard has mapped out an entire business model that includes a share of merchandising and broadcast rights. While undecided, there is a good chance to see the sale of in-game items as well.
However, permanent slots mean permanent investments, raising another concern for buyers. Looking at League of Legends (Riot Games) and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (Valve), investors have the option of trading in their teams or players. Overwatch League already boasting higher pricing than normal leaves buyers to think sternly about their goals.
Anticipation for the Overwatch League is reaching its climax, with hopes that Blizzard will finally unveil all the details soon. Most recently, Nate Nanzer, head of esports at Blizzard, stated that “great content” will be key to the establishment of a platform that can sustain the Overwatch League. He also revealed why Tracer was chosen for the league’s logo.