The Overwatch League has just concluded their first season. To say it was a success in the eyes of many would be an understatement. A league that was only a year old was able to sellout the Barclays Center, get on ESPN and now they have announced the next three cities for the Overwatch League expansion.
It was reported by Jacob Wolf back in early June that the Overwatch League was looking to add anywhere from 4-6 new teams for their second season. Well so far Wolf has heard or confirmed that they will be adding at least three, and more than likely six new teams. So far the teams rumored or officially announced are Guangzhou, Paris, and Atlanta. This is one team in each major esports region. Keeping this in mind, and using the tier list from a couple months ago, we are going to dive in and update the tier list for the most likely cities to receive the next Overwatch League bids.
Rankings will be based on the following questions:
- How big is the city?
- Has the city had any involvement in esports before? If so, how successful have those events been?
- Is there a known investor/franchise that is from that city that would want to put it there?
- Are there teams in close proximity to this city already? (i.e. another LA would not be likely)
Not happening this time
There are some cities that will probably be mentioned but, it is very unlikely that they will get a spot for one reason or another.
Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, St. Louis, Kansas City, Rome, Barcelona- For these first cities the reasoning will be the same as the last article so they will just be named for rumors sake.
Pittsburgh- They were a tier 3 city before, but with Atlanta being announced they have to be taken off the list. It is not unlikely that the Pittsburgh Knights will be a team eventually depending on how big the league tries to get due to the owner, Rob “Leonyx” Lee. That being said this time around Pittsburgh wont be picked over the other major cities on this list in North America.
Denver- While also a tier 3 city last time, what was said about Pittsburgh can also be said about Denver. Because of Atlanta, Denver will not be picked.
Tier 3- Unlikely but Possible
Brooklyn- If you didn’t watch the Overwatch League Finals then why are you reading this? Just kidding, but in all seriousness Brooklyn came out for the Overwatch League. While they are still not a major contender for the assumed one NA city left, it is definitely not impossible. There could be someone with a lot of money telling Nate Nanzer and crew that Brooklyn would create a Yankees and Mets type rivalry with the Excelsior. That might be intriguing enough to get something done.
Washington D.C.- More than likely D.C. will get a team someday. This year though, it is pretty unlikely. As mentioned in the previous list they have too many cities with teams around them and Atlanta, as it is doing for many cities chances, has hurt D.C’s as well.
Beijing- Guangzhou seems to have come completely out of left field. If you would have surveyed the general populous, they would have all agreed that a city like Beijing would have had a better chance. Alas, that is not the case. With some other cities from Asia on this list, Beijing’s chances are very slim. With the Chinese market though, it is tough to count out any Chinese city.
Cleveland- The only real chance Cleveland had was before Atlanta was announced. If Cleveland were to be announced it would be like, oh who knows, Guangzhou getting a team before Beijing or Hong Kong, wait, that already happened. Anyway, it is clear that top bidders have as much an influence as the need for cities in certain locations. If, and only if a major investor came to the Overwatch League and was able to convince them that “The Land” was better than say Chicago or Toronto, then Cleveland could get a bid.
Tokyo- The more you think about it, the less likely it is that Tokyo gets picked. For some reason, even though they are a major tech capital in the world they don’t seem to produce much in the way of esports. Whether it is fans or players Japan is not known for its involvement in esports. If there were to be a culture change Tokyo would skyrocket up this list. Since that wont happen in the next few months, most likely, they have fallen to a tier 3 and almost fell off the list entirely.
Tier 2- Close but just out of reach
Last time Atlanta was a Tier 2 city, clearly the Cox family were serious and made a great bid. As mentioned above they are a prime example of a big bid having an influence.
Hong Kong- How is it that no one was able to convince the Overwatch League to bring a team here over Guangzhou? This will be a major question as this time, it is likely that Hong Kong will have to wait for the next expansion. That is, unless the Overwatch League decides to really surprise everyone and add more than six teams for next year. If that were to happen then hold on to your seats boys and girls, we are about to have another exciting offseason.
Sydney- This city was definitely being discussed for the last list. But, considering how many other cities there are to be added, it was originally unlikely that it would be added this time around. Well, things have seemingly changed. Asia Pacific is a region that very rarely gets love for teams in major esports. If the Overwatch League were to truly want to be global they would need to get a team in this region. Also the fans in Australia would probably go nuts and be a top level fan base.
Stockholm & Copenhagen- As a company we would like to personally apologize for not even putting either city on the list last time. The writer of that list is clearly an idiot… This time though both cities have to be strongly considered. Like Asia-Pacific the Nordic region will need/get a representative eventually. The problem is there is one major city left in Europe that will probably have first dibs on the bid. If that city is not picked then both of these cities become a Tier 1. Either way, the third expansion will more than likely include one of these cities. They have a major fan base for esports as a whole and some pretty major players in the league hail from this area.
Seattle- Sorry Seattle, but with the Atlanta announcement it makes it much harder to get a bid. Not because of anything Seattle did. There are more than likely investors there who are primed and ready to go for a team and assuredly the fan base there would be insane. That being said there are still some other North
American cities to be considered. When the third round of expansion comes about you can take it to the bank that Seattle is going to make a major push.
Las Vegas- It is so hard to count out Las Vegas. They already have a major esports arena that has drawn plenty of fans for major events. Evo is happening there this week even. With all of that under consideration Vegas still has too many other NA cities to beat out this time.
Tier 1- Very Likely
We would like to point out that this list lost Paris because it was picked! Very excited to see Paris represented and more excited to see what their team name is. Anyhow, lets get to this tier.
Chicago- This city is very close to being a tier 2 and for no other reason than Atlanta. Atlanta, like Guangzhou has messed up a lot in this tier list. The Overwatch League still needs to strongly consider a Midwestern city to try and get more fans in the area. There’s potentially one city standing in the way of Chicago getting a team.
Toronto- This would be that city. Toronto has hosted many esports events in the past and they have created a major esports fan base in the city. With the League wanting to be global, it is time that Canada get some love. They don’t have a hero in the game yet, which seems strange. Pharah is apparently part Canadian but, there needs to be a Canadian hero. Either way, Toronto should have enough investors and are already a part of the MLB, NBA, NHL (obviously), and NBA2K League. It seems like this is a can’t miss city but, again Atlanta hurt every other NA cities chances this time around.
Berlin- Berlin is already a major esports hub. They just hosted yet another esports event in the PUBG Global Invitational. It is clear that they are “esports ready” as a city and with Paris getting already getting the nod it does slightly hurt Berlin’s chances. That being said it is so hard to imagine that the Overwatch League would pass on this city.
Busan- Another mistake on the previous list was forgetting Busan. South Korea is the esports capital of the world and it is not even close. If there is a country that not only deserves but needs another team it is this one. Busan is the second biggest city in South Korea and as of Monday it was announced that they would host the group stage and quarterfinals of League of Legends Worlds. Busan is clearly a front-runner.
With this list we have decided to make our picks for the next cities that will get a team. We already know three as we have stated, Guangzhou, Paris and Atlanta, here are the other three.
Busan, Berlin, Chicago.
Busan and Berlin are easy choices. Esports runs through their veins, they will have plenty of investors and the Overwatch League would have to receive an incredible offer to pass them up. As for Chicago, it was between it and Toronto obviously for NA. Toronto would be a great choice but, a major fan base is in the United States and the fact that the midwest does not have a representative gives Chicago the upper hand.
What do you think?
We will probably find out more either before, during, or right after Worlds this year as to who the six cities and teams will be.
What cities do you think will receive teams? Are there any that were missed? Comment below and let us know!
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