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How to Succeed in eSports? Follow the Pro Model

30 Nov, 2016

By: Michael Popke
Overwatch Seeks to Focus on Long-Term Stability for Teams

There’s been no shortage of eSports news to report lately, and the $600 million global industry is making headlines again.

Worldwide videogame development leader Blizzard Entertainment recently established the Overwatch League for professional competition in “Overwatch,” the popular team-based shooter game with a cast of 23 virtual heroes that launched in May and now has more than 20 million players. It will, according to an announcement from Blizzard, “focus on long-term stability for teams, as well as opportunities for players to establish the type of professional careers associated with traditional sports.”

This is the real deal, with combines and contracts. As Blizzard also explained: “The inaugural season of the Overwatch League will begin in 2017. At the start of the season, Blizzard will host a combine, where eligible players who have previously distinguished themselves in competition will be invited to try out for teams. Players at the combine will be evaluated across a range of tests, giving teams the opportunity to sign those who best round out their rosters. Anyone picked up by a team during the signing period will be guaranteed a contract that includes a baseline minimum salary and benefits package.”

Seems ambitious, doesn’t it? But consider this: The League of Legends World Championships gaming competition was held at a sold-out Staples Center the last weekend in October. Travel Weekly reports that “between 2012 and 2014, the audience of frequent viewers and enthusiasts of eSports expanded from 58 million to 89 million people,” and, according to a report by The Hollywood Reporter, 214 million people will watch competitive eSports gaming this year; industry revenue is expected to climb to almost $900 million.

Watch this YouTube trailer to find out more about the Overwatch League.

If the Overwatch League works, a whole new wave of opportunities could open up for sports destination marketers.  

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