eSports
Jacob Wolf, ESPN Staff Writer 30d

Overwatch League preseason to begin Dec. 6

esports

The Overwatch League will launch its preseason on Dec. 6 and will include 12 teams total across 11 cities, Blizzard Entertainment announced Wednesday.

The league will launch its main season on Jan. 10. The games for both the preseason and main season will take place at Blizzard's new esports venue in Burbank, California.

The developer confirmed previous reports of the three final franchises -- located in Philadelphia, Dallas and Houston -- which are owned by Comcast Spectacor, Team EnVyUs and OpTic Gaming, respectively. The addition of these three means a lock-in of a total of 12 teams for the league's first season.

Each of these franchise tags cost $20 million paid over time, sources told ESPN. Endemics Team EnVyUs and OpTic Gaming both secured investment deals to pay for the fee.

Over the past few weeks, the developer sought out a 13th team, tapping Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wesley Edens as an owner, sources said. Blizzard decided against completing the deal, as it was unable to secure a 14th franchise quick enough, league sources said.

The other nine owners include parties from both endemic esports organizers, traditional sports team owners and wealthy entrepreneurs. Participating parties include Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots, Jeff Wilpon of the New York Mets, Stan Kroenke of the Los Angeles Rams and the Denver Nuggets, and more.

The Overwatch League was announced in November and was initially slated to launch in the third fiscal quarter of 2017 but was pushed back as the league struggled to lock in multiple teams throughout the summer. It will now launch before the end of the year.

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