Blizzard announced the signing of the six new teams on Friday that’ll be participating in the 2019 competitive season. Chengdu, Hangzhou, Paris, Toronto, Vancouver, and Washington, D.C now all have teams registered in the Overwatch League, the first two from China, the second two from Canada, and the final from the United States. This means that nine out of the now 20 teams that’ll be playing in the League are outside of the United States, something that the Pete Vlastelica, CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues, said will help the League broaden its global reach.
“Now, as we look forward to the 2019 season and beyond, we’re adding eight new teams that will help us grow our league in important regions around the globe,” Vlastelica said. “We know that the difference between a good league and a great league is its owners, and we set a high bar for our first season with the caliber of ownership groups. Every one of these expansion franchises cleared that bar and will make our league even better.”
Like the rest of the teams within the League, these six new groups are all sponsored by different organizations be they dedicated esports groups or business looking to expand into the world of competitive gaming. The team names haven’t been revealed yet, but Blizzard did share who was backing each team.
- Aquilini Group—A diversified family business that owns the National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks and Rogers Arena and manages a global conglomerate portfolio will operate the team in Vancouver, Canada
- Bilibili—A leading online entertainment company in China, covering a wide array of genres and media formats—including videos, live broadcasting, and mobile games—will operate the team in Hangzhou, China
- DM Esports—A global company focused on esports entertainment and investments will operate the team in Paris, France
- HUYA Inc.—A leading game livestreaming platform in China will operate the team in Chengdu, China
- OverActive Media—An integrated company delivering esports and video game entertainment to the Canadian market will operate the team in Toronto, Canada
- Washington Esports Ventures—A sports organization founded by Mark Ein, owner of the Washington Kastles of World Team Tennis, to build and promote esports enterprises will operate the team in Washington, D.C.
The six new teams will take part in the 2019 Overwatch League season.