Activision Blizzard has sold two expansion slots for the second season of the Overwatch League in Washington, D.C. and Hangzhou, China, league sources told ESPN.
The league will expand to a total of 20 teams, instead of the previous goal of 18, as stated by Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues CEO Pete Vlastelica and Overwatch League commissioner Nate Nanzer in multiple interviews with various news outlets.
The sales of D.C. and Hangzhou will bring the total to 18, after the league sold slots in Atlanta, Toronto, Paris and Guangzhou, China. The league anticipates selling two more slots before it closes its expansion process.
The Washington, D.C., slot will be funded by a new group led by Mark Ein, his Capitol Investment Corp. and other affiliated venture capital groups and investors, sources said.
Ein is the owner of the Washington Kastles of World Team Tennis and is a successful investor in real estate and technology. He is also a minority owner of aXiomatic, the esports-focused parent company of Team Liquid. Disney, the parent company of ESPN, is also an investor in aXiomatic.
As the second Chinese team sold in expansion -- and the third in the league overall -- Hangzhou will be funded by Chinese video sharing website Bilibili, sources said. As of Tuesday, Bilibili stock was sold at $12.50 per share on the Nasdaq Stock Market, with a total market cap of $3.58 billion.
Buy-in prices for these teams vary, with sources previously telling ESPN that the price would range from $35 to $60 million. Toronto, which was sold to the Kimel family, Splyce and OverActive Media, closed at $35 million in August.
The Overwatch League's rapid expansion came after the league originally sought six additional teams for the second season but received last-minute interest from a number of buyers. Blizzard and Capitol Investment Corp did not respond to requests for comment.
New owners in the league from previous sales include Atlanta Esports Ventures, an organization formed by Cox Enterprises and Province, Inc., in Atlanta; the Kimel family, Splyce and OverActive in Toronto; McCourt Global, the Los Angeles-based parent of Olympique de Marseille in Paris; and the Nenking Group, the owners of the Guangzhou Long-Lions, in Guangzhou, China.
The league is currently expected to be run out of its home cities by 2020, league sources said, meaning that teams will travel to various cities whose regional rights are owned by the participating organizations. With the addition of the six so far, the league has 11 teams in the United States, one in Canada, two in Europe and four in Asia.
The player signing period for expansion teams begins Sunday and lasts until Oct. 7. In this period, teams will be able to sign contracts with players the existing Overwatch League teams released prior to Sunday or those competing as amateurs, either on ladder or in other leagues such as Overwatch Contenders.