Leading global financial firm Morgan Stanley estimates that the upcoming Overwatch League could generate an annual revenue of as much as $100 million.
While the figure is impressive, it pales in comparison to what the league could make in a confident and bull market scenario. According to Morgan Stanley, the pinnacle of its success could see a massive revenue generation of around $720 million on an annual basis.
If the bull market scenario comes into play, the Overwatch League would join the same platform as the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) which made $192.9 million in its fourth quarter. In addition, it would also be 20 percent larger than Major League Soccer which made $582 million in its 2015 season.
However, reaching that platform will be a grueling challenge for Blizzard and require certain changes. The investment management firm proposes that the developer will have to increase the number of teams from 16 to 32. Doing so will result in larger exposure, higher viewership, and better monetization.
It should be noted that the report from Morgan Stanley is based on the assumption that Major League Gaming (MLG), acquired by Activision Blizzard last year for an estimated $46 million, will fulfill its promise of becoming the “ESPN of Esports.” If the platform fails to do so, Overwatch League will have to do with a bare minimum of $20 million.
Elsewhere in the report, Morgan Stanley estimates that Blizzard must attract a viewership of at least 72,000 on average for the regular season and 7.7 million for the playoffs to reach the $100 million valuation of the Overwatch League. The bull case scenario, however, is much higher, requiring at least 75,000 viewers on average for the regular season and 12 million viewers for the playoffs. In comparison, the 2016 League of Legends World Championship hit 14.7 million viewers.
Based on previous figures released by Blizzard, Morgan Stanley is fairly certain that Overwatch boasts an active monthly player-base of about 17 million.
Earlier this month, a report suggested that Blizzard is seeking a figure up to $5 million to sell an Overwatch team from smaller markets. For larger markets, such as Los Angeles, it could cost between $10 million and $15 million for a single team slot.