The Overwatch League was a major financial success. It only makes sense that Blizzard would want to look at expending the roster of teams. The previous season featured 12 teams in total. And there was already talk about what was to come in the next. At one point, Blizzard stated that the plan was to add six more teams to the lineup. But if recent reports from ESPN is anything to go by, that number just got a boost. Though Blizzard has yet to confirm this, as many as eight new teams are on the way. Blizzard apparently sold slots to Atlanta, Washington D.C, Toronto, Vancouver, Paris, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, and Chengdu.
There’s a lot to be said about this, based on the overwhelming success of the inaugural season. A large number of the buyers were from incredibly influential media companies and the like. Therefore, many see this as evidence of the rising prominence of esports. The pastime is being recognized by major investors who see the potential market value in the enterprise. And the more things like this are done, the more esports crosses into the mainstream threshold. To the point where eventually these games won’t be differentiated from any traditional sport.
But there are still many questions to ask, internally. Most notably, one of the main criticisms of the Overwatch League was the sheer volume of content. The way the game was broken down, teams played a staggering amount of games. Also, keep in mind that every match had the potential of going for 5 maps. Of course, certain teams, like the Philadelphia Fusion, were more used to that than others. Plus there was also just an enormous number of matches being played, as it was. With more teams, how will Blizzard change the structure of the Overwatch League to compensate for those additions? Could they try for fewer games per match? Perhaps fewer stages in a season?
In theory, Blizzard can come up with any number of fixes to this conundrum. In the meantime, it’s worth speculating what the actual teams will be. The Washington D.C team slot, for example, was bought by Mark Ein, who is a minority owner aXiomatic, the parent company of Team Liquid. This is notable because Team Liquid had a rivalry with Cloud 9 in League of Legends, which is most notable for going on to form the core of the current Overwatch League champions, The London Spitfire. Could this mean the Liquid might come to the Overwatch League in some form? And what of the other teams? There are now four Chinese teams in the Overwatch League. They can’t all be Dragons. And what about the Paris team? All of this is really interesting to think about. Season 2 is on the way and Blizzard is sure to talk details soon.