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Nanzer: We won’t be ignoring existing teams

November 9, 2016 John Paolo "Sandata" Bago

Blizzard’s global eSports director Nate Nanzer revealed some more details on Overwatch’s upcoming global eSports league on ChanmanV’s show, The Overview.

On the show, Nanzer outlined the reasoning behind Overwatch’s proposed league structure — a mix between eSports practices and tradtional sports.

“How come esports is always trying to reinvent the wheel? Why can’t we look what works in traditional sprots and maybe some of those can be applied to [esports],” opened Nanzer when asked about the reasoning behind the Overwatch League’s structure.

“We’ve audited all of the traditional sports to find out their financial models to understand the different ways that teams and players make money,” Nanzer said.
“It became clear that in all of the sports leagues that the global sponsorship money only accounts for a fraction of what teams take in. We hope that by having these local teams that in a few years every team has home games. There’s millions of kids around the world that would love to go to an esports tournament and buy merch, but can’t because of travel costs. These localized teams will unlock lots of local revenue,” he added.

No ignoring established teams

According to Nanzer, Blizzard is in close coordination with the teams that have already bought into Overwatch. The eSports director said that existing teams will take part in the team sales process for 2017.

“We had 125 team representatives at Blizzcon. We aren’t going to be ignoring existing teams – we absolutely are trying to include everyone,” he said.

“The way we will break this down is in a team sales process that we can’t share more details on just yet but the teams for 2017 will come as a result of this process. We want people who want to invest in this because of the permanent spot, because of the share of financial interest in the league. We want to make sure all the owners we work with are best in class operators.”

Ultimately, Nanzer says that the cities for the Overwatch League haven’t been selected yet, but that existing team owners are going to be able to buy into the league, alongside sports investors and other interested parties. It wouldn’t be impossible to find a city like Los Angeles be represented by both Kobe Bryant and Complexity, for example.

Insulating from burnout

While Nanzer said that 2017 inagaural league season won’t feature teams flying to and from other cities in away and home games just yet, he hopes that the future texture of the Overwatch League will have fans looking forward to watch games happening in their local stadiums, similar to the NFL and NBA.

“We hope that teams will be traveling to away games eventually, but the next few years are going to be laying the groundwork for that. We won’t have home games in the first year, but games won’t be all in one location either for 2017. We should have more details towards the beginning of the year,” said Nanzer.

The Overwatch League will take place for a predetermined amount of time every year before going into a true off-season. This will allow players and teams to pursue third-party events unencumbered while also preventing player burnout thanks to a predictable yearly tournament schedule.