Overwatch developer and tournament organizer Blizzard Entertainment is attempting to obtain a minimum of $2 million in non-major markets for the rights to a city-based franchise in its upcoming Overwatch League, according to a Monday report from the SportsBusiness Journal that was confirmed by an industry source to ESPN.
The report claims that franchise spots within Blizzard's Overwatch League, which is set to launch in September, are worth between $2 million and $5 million in non-major markets and almost triple that in major markets such as Los Angeles. On Tuesday SBJ updated the original story citing a source that valued a spot at closer to $30 million.
The news comes after Blizzard and its Overwatch team, led by its league commissioner Nate Nanzer, started talking to interested sports and esports team owners alike, multiple sources told ESPN. Sources said that Blizzard has a large interest in courting sports owners for already geolocated franchises, such as NBA, NFL and MLB owners.
Blizzard first announced its plans for the Overwatch League in November at its annual BlizzCon convention in Anaheim, California. The developer intends to build a league focused around geolocated franchises similar in kind to professional sports leagues. Many already established Overwatch teams have expressed interest in being involved in the league and have relocated their teams to major city hubs.
In comparison to other esports leagues, the $2 million to $5 million evaluation is much higher than for other esports leagues. Although its league does not currently offer franchising, the League Championship Series has the highest buy-in price, at $1.8 million when Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wesley Edens acquired a spot in the league in December.