Generally based upon our birth location, we grow up with an allegiance of sorts to a sporting team. This may be forced, or gently encouraged, through family connections or close friends as we grow up.
Now the teams are starting to create strategic positions across different leagues and competitions to extend their reach. This appears to be a position encouraged and stimulated by growth across the realm. A strategy so much different to conventional sports where growth is harnessed or constrained.
Activision Blizzard, based upon success of the Overwatch League have announced a decision to buy into a newly created city-based Call of Duty League with five teams securing a position for $25M per team in Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Paris and Toronto that is expected to launch in 2020.
“Each ownership group initially announced has an Overwatch League team but it’s unclear whether the first phase of the buy-in process is complete. Activision reported that the interest of buying into the CoD league was high and that the $25 million dollar buy in per city, which a lot thought was too much for an inaugural year buy-in, is not dissuading investors” as reported on Hotspawn by Gillian Linscott aka Kendryx.
Shortly after this release, OverActive Media, parent company of Toronto Defiant and Splyce and Canada’s first professional esports ownership group, confirmed that upon securing a CoD franchise this enhances their growth intent by being the only esports organization in the world to own teams in the League of Legends, Overwatch League and Call of Duty — the world's three biggest professional esports leagues.
OverActive Media are definitely “planting a flag in Toronto as Canada’s capital for the fast growing esports industry” as their position extends with teams now in League of Legends European Championship, Overwatch League, Call of Duty World League, Rocket League, Starcraft and Smite.
"Overactive Media is building a world-leading, global esports platform that will redefine the future of sports and entertainment," said Chris Overholt, President and CEO of OverActive Media. "Our expanded partnership with Activision Blizzard and the acquisition of the Toronto Call of Duty franchise signals yet another significant step toward our goal. Today, we stand alone as the only organization who can offer our marketing partners, investors and fans access to the three most important esports leagues in the world."
This fascinating model is bound to impact where successful sporting teams and leagues now view the future. The convergence of divergent partners seemingly endless.
Another example of unexpected partnerships is Will Smith turning his focus to Japan being part of a reported $46M consortium that includes current Melbourne Victory star Keisuke Honda with Gen.G as "Esports is not yet big in Japan, but we are seeing tremendous growth there and globally, which is very positive."
Turning their attention towards this new space are many of the top brands forming multi-year sponsorship deals into Esport at an increasing rate. Coca-Cola and Toyota the most recent that also reach deeply into local sport here. It shall be fascinating to observe where the value of brand position unfolds ahead.
Meanwhile, I am still trying to improve at Apex Legends, with a little help from my friends 😊
Flip Danson - Flip Asaurus-Rex