New franchise owners include Cox Enterprises in Atlanta and Nenking Group in Guangzhou. Both teams will join the Overwatch League for the start of the 2019 season
The Overwatch LeagueTM has its first champion in the London Spitfire, but new competition is on the way for the 2019 season. Today two more teams, Atlanta and Guangzhou, joined the world’s first major global city-based esports league. The ownership groups operating those franchises are:
Atlanta, Georgia— Cox Enterprises, a leading communications, media, and automotive services company, which has partnered with Province, Inc. to form Atlanta Esports Ventures
Guangzhou, China— Nenking Group, a financial and entertainment conglomerate, and owner of the Guangzhou Long Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association
“After thrilling fans with an amazing Grand Finals at the Barclays Center, we’re excited to follow that up by expanding the Overwatch League next season,” said Pete Vlastelica, president and CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues. “We’re pleased to add the Atlanta and Guangzhou teams to the ownership group, and we look forward to bringing the league to even more fans across both regions in 2019.”
“We know Atlanta and Guangzhou have deeply engaged fan communities and we can’t wait to unveil their teams,” said Nate Nanzer, commissioner of the Overwatch League. “As the league continues to grow, we’re looking forward to seeing more talented pros in action as more roster spots open up.”
“The esports phenomenon is only getting bigger and the Overwatch League is at the center of the excitement,” said Dallas Clement, chief financial officer of Cox Enterprises. “Atlanta has some of the most passionate fans in the world—and now, we get to bring this energy to the Overwatch League. We are thrilled to help lead the evolution of esports by building a team in our hometown.”
The popularity of Overwatch and esports in general has created a diverse fanbase that we in Atlanta are excited to engage,” said Paul Hamilton, president and CEO of Atlanta Esports Ventures, a partnership between Cox Enterprises and Province, Inc. “With the creativity of Blizzard Entertainment and the determination of Atlanta Esports Ventures, we are poised to create the preeminent esports team in the heart of the Southeast.”
“We are so excited to bring an Overwatch League team to Guangzhou,” said Zhong Naixiong, chairman of the Nenking Group. “The Nenking Group and the Long Lions have deep roots in this region, and we can’t wait to represent our city on the world stage and make our fans proud.”
Further details about official names, marks, and rosters for Atlanta and Guangzhou will be announced soon by each team in conjunction with the Overwatch League. Information about other new Overwatch nLeague teams and the 2019 season schedule will be released at a later date.
The 2017–2018 Overwatch League season concludes with the All-Star Weekend on August 25–26 at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles in Burbank, California. On Saturday, teams from the Atlantic and Pacific Divisions will compete in a series of custom skill matches, and on Sunday, the All-Star squads will go head-to-head in the official All-Star Game Powered by Intel®.