According to reports, Blizzard is set to announce two new franchises for the Overwatch League, one in Atlanta, USA and the other Guangzhou, China.
Esports journalist and consultant Rod "Slasher" Breslau states that Blizzard will announce the expansion on August 1, and the two franchises will be backed by some major investors.
Following the conclusion of season 1, with the London Spitfire winning the finals at the Barclays Center in New York, speculation on the league's expansion has heightened.
The two new teams would take the total franchise count to 14. Currently, the Shanghai Dragons are the only Chinese team, and given Chinese viewership figures, another franchise for the region is a logical step.
The franchise for Guangzhou will be backed by the Nenking Group, who own Chinese Basketball Association’s Guangzhou Long-Lions.
For the Atlanta franchise, COX Enterprises, an Atlanta based conglemerate operating mainly the COX Media Group, will provide the backing.
Source: Blizzard to officially announce today Overwatch League expansion city franchises in Atlanta, USA and Guangzhou, China.— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) August 1, 2018
As reported by ESPN’s @JacobWolf, the Guangzhou and Atlanta OWL franchises will be backed by the Nenking Group (ownership of Chinese Basketball Association’s Guangzhou Long-Lions) and Cox Enterprises, respectively. https://t.co/g3WSIqUrHT— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) August 1, 2018
The expansion slots are reported to sell for $30 million, rising to even as high as $60 million, according to ESPN, so it is a serious undertaking for these investors. Season One franchise spots cost $20 million.
ESPN also report that McCourt Global are attempting to 'obtain regional rights' for a Paris based franchise, though it is unclear if any advancement has been made.
In total, Blizzard has stated it aims to expand by adding a further six franchises for Season 2, across North America, Europe and Asia.