Atlanta and Guangzhou commence Overwatch League expansion

Atlanta and Guangzhou have landed new teams in the Overwatch League as part of the first wave of expansion for the second season of the esports competition.

Overwatch’s owner, US video game developer Activision Blizzard, confirmed the addition of the US and Chinese cities to the league for 2019, with four more teams expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks.

The Atlanta franchise will be owned by communications, media, and automotive services company Cox Enterprises, which has partnered with Province, Inc. to form Atlanta Esports Ventures. Nenking Group, a financial and entertainment conglomerate, and owner of the Guangzhou Long Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association, has secured the latest team in China.

“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,” Pete Vlastelica, president and chief executive of Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues, said yesterday (Thursday). “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.”

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 teams, which are expected to be predominantly based outside of the US, and the 2019 season schedule will be released at a later date.

The 2017-18 Overwatch League inaugural season reached its climax with the London Spitfire emerging triumphant at the weekend’s Grand Finals at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The debut campaign has consisted of 12 teams, but only three of these represented cities outside the US – London, Shanghai and Seoul.

Atlanta and Guangzhou, like the rest of the teams, will be based in Southern California next season. The Overwatch League is currently staging all its competitions at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California, until its franchises can develop arenas of their own.

Most recent

Matt Carroll, chief executive of the Australian Olympic Committee, tells Adam Nelson how a focus on athlete engagement, grassroots participation and community schemes has helped to boost the AOC’s commercial programme throughout the Olympic cycle.

The decision by the ATP Council not to renew Chris Kermode's contract as ATP executive chairman and president caused surprise when it was announced in March. Ben Cronin speaks to the outgoing tennis chief about his record.

A Ukranian billionaire is funding the latest effort to turn swimming into a regular competitive professional sport and not just one of the most popular events at the Summer Olympics.

Fan excitement over the acquisition of the star free agent has fueled the MLB club to what is by far the league's largest per-game attendance increase. But Paul Hagen examines how the organization is already thinking long-term and looking to sustain fan engagement over Harper's entire 13-year deal.