It seems like the days of a group of guys and gals getting together to make their own
ESports team and then hopefully getting a big sponsor to help get them off the ground are a
thing of the past. I have been interested in how Blizzard wants Overwatch to take the
franchise model when it comes to ESports.
They want a city to host a team (with a very wealthy owner) in a way like a city is home to a
basketball or football team. This is interesting and not entirely new to the world of ESports,
but there was a report recently about the cost of running an Overwatch ESports franchise and
it has been reported to be an astronomical 20 million dollars…. At least! Some even say that
the 20 million number that is being thrown around is too low!
Activision/Blizzard are hoping that traditional sports teams will take up these Overwatch
franchises as ESports is just getting bigger and bigger. It is very interesting that they want to
go the route of high end ESports and want to make it a major event (which you could argue it
already is) with tournaments as big as the NBA Finals and the Super Bowl.
I know that not everyone is keen on the whole franchise thing and to be fair some other
games that offer franchises (League Of Legends) cost nowhere near as much as is being
asked for Overwatch, but it certainly looks like franchises are the way that ESports are going
to and as long as companies like Activision/Blizzard own the leagues, they are free to do
what they want and not allow just random teams to be entered.
Some people say that this could take the heart out of ESports and make it feel just like any
other sport, which is kind of funny as many fans of ESports (myself included) have wanted it
to be treated with the same respect as things like the NBA, NFL and NHL are and now that
this appears to be about to happening, I realize that with that comes all the corporate stuff
which has turned many fans away from pro sports.