Activision Blizzard - City franchise leagues reach esports as Overwatch competition begins
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Activision Blizzard - City franchise leagues reach esports as Overwatch competition begins

Yesterday Activision Blizzard launched their Overwatch videogame league in a test of whether esports can match their more traditional counterparts in attracting audiences and the paying advertisers that come with them.

The global esports market generated $325million in 2015 and has kept growing since with audiences worldwide tuning in to watch the best players in the world compete in their favourite videogames.

Activision Blizzard is the U.S.’s largest videogame publisher (in market value) and Overwatch has over 35million players. Analyst Doug Creutz for Cowen&Co said “There is some value built into Activision’s stock for esports” and Activision Blizzard seem to be taking that seriously hiring traditional sports presenters to commentate on the on-screen action.

The league which Activision Blizzard have signed a two year deal to stream on Amazon.com’s Twitch streaming platform began last night at 7pm EST (0.00 GMT). It featured matches between San Francisco Shock vs. Los Angeles Valiant, Shangahi Dragons vs Los Angeles Gladiators, Dallas Fuel vs Seoul Dynasty, and London Spitfire vs Florida Mayhem.

The number of viewers who watch esports at least once a month has, according to an estimate from Newzoo BV, doubled since 2012 to 191million spectators, with revenues from sponsorships ticket sales and media rights set to exceed £1billion before the end of next year.

Backed by traditional sports money American football team owner, Robert Kraft (New England Patriots) and Jeff Wilpon (COO New York Mets), Blizzard have high hopes for the future of their league with Commissioner of Overwatch League Nate Nanzer saying “It will be just as common in the future to take your family to an ‘Overwatch’ game as it is to a Major League Baseball game”.

Disclosure

Dominion holds Activision Blizzard in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund


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