Overwatch League teams to play in home markets in 2020

Overwatch League fans sit in Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California. Next year Overwatch League teams will play in their home markets. Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Overwatch League teams will move into their home markets next year in the third season of the league, commissioner Nate Nanzer told ESPN during an interview at the South by Southwest conference on Friday.

During a panel later that afternoon, Nanzer confirmed that the league's 20 teams will host matches in their home markets in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, China and South Korea in 2020. As a result, the league will not sell expansion slots for Season 3, Nanzer said to ESPN.

Later this year, three teams -- the Dallas Fuel, Atlanta Reign and Los Angeles Valiant -- will host the first local events for the league. The Dallas Fuel will host a homestand event, welcoming rival teams to their home market, on April 27-28 at the Allen Events Center in Allen, Texas. In July and August, the Atlanta Reign and Los Angeles Valiant will follow suit.

The Valiant are the first team to announce a permanent venue. They will compete in the Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles, which is owned owned by Valiant/Immortals investor Anschutz Entertainment Group.

The league currently consists of 20 teams representing cities across the globe. Thirteen teams exist in North America, with 11 in the United States and two in Canada, while four are based in China, two in Europe and one in South Korea.

In 2017, parent company Activision Blizzard sold 12 franchise slots for $20 million each to owners of the New England Patriots, Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Flyers and others. In 2018, the league sold eight additional slots in the United States, Canada, France and China for prices ranging from $35 to $60 million, as reported by ESPN.

On Monday, Activision Blizzard began meetings to sell spots in a city-based, franchised Call of Duty league, priced at $25 million per team, sources told ESPN.

Heading that will be former NFL vice president Johanna Faries, who Activision Blizzard hired as Call of Duty World League's head of product in October. Faries will serve as that league's commissioner, similar to Nanzer with Overwatch, Nanzer told ESPN on Friday.