Activision Blizzard builds professional eSports league around Overwatch
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Activision Blizzard builds professional eSports league around Overwatch

One of the world’s premier video game companies, Activision Blizzard, has announced that it will create a professional eSports league around its popular title Overwatch. Overwatch is a “first-person shooter” – meaning it puts players in control of a gun-toting character using first-person perspective – and Activision’s new league will see city-based teams join up online to compete in global gaming tournaments. The result could be enormous, as billions of video game fans around the world flock to view and participate in this first-of-its-kind gaming avenue.

Activision Blizzard’s share price has appreciated by almost 70% so far this year!

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SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

Given the size and potential of this endeavour, it is no surprise that Activision Blizzard has spent some serious money getting the right people involved. That means people who can compliment the company’s understanding of its own market with in-depth knowledge of professional sports leagues. Those people include New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and New York Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon.

Bobby Kotick, Activision Blizzard’s CEO, said: “When we created Overwatch at Blizzard, it was always with the expectation that we would be able to celebrate and recognize our players in a way that would be consistent with traditional sports. The only way you really could accomplish that would be to have the very best traditional sports team owners participate in ownership in the league, along with these great entrepreneurs from eSports, and that's what we've done."

Kraft was eager to join the project, seeing eSports as a definite growth area. He told CNBC:

“We see in the NFL that the millennials and the 'Z' generation are consuming things differently through their mobile devices. They're playing games hours and hours a day, and not watching sports the way we did. So we wanted to go with the best and try to participate in what's happening in this whole new field.

"We try to go with things where the future is bright. It's something that two to three years ago I could never relate to. But being around young people and seeing how they play this game for hours, and they've got to be physically fit. ... It's a whole new world out there."

Kotick agrees that the company’s new league will be a first for the video game industry. He said that small tournaments were proving popular "But it's never been done on a global basis. So the idea that Shanghai and Seoul can play Boston and New York, that's never been done before [...] This is the first time where you have global competition, city-based pairs where you're going to have that local level enthusiasm."

Revenue from eSports is expected to hit $1.1 billion in 2019, and 76% of eSports fans already claim that the time they spend cheering their favourite teams online is overtaking time spent watching traditional sporting events.

Disclosure

Dominion holds Activision Blizzard in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.


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