THE OVERWATCH LEAGUETM SIGNS TWO NEW TEAMS
New franchise owners include Cox Enterprises in Atlanta and Nenking Group in Guangzhou
Both teams will join the Overwatch League for the start of the 2019 season
IRVINE, Calif.—Aug. 2, 2018—The Overwatch LeagueTM has its first champion in the London Spitfire, but new competition is on the way for the 2019 season. Today two more teams, Atlanta and Guangzhou, joined the world’s first major global city-based esports league. The ownership groups operating those franchises are:
- Atlanta, Georgia—Cox Enterprises, a leading communications, media, and automotive services company, which has partnered with Province, Inc. to form Atlanta Esports Ventures
- Guangzhou, China—Nenking Group, a financial and entertainment conglomerate, and owner of the Guangzhou Long Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association
“After thrilling fans with an amazing Grand Finals at the Barclays Center, we’re excited to follow that up by expanding the Overwatch League next season,” said Pete Vlastelica, president and CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues. “We’re pleased to add the Atlanta and Guangzhou teams to the ownership group, and we look forward to bringing the league to even more fans across both regions in 2019.”
“We know Atlanta and Guangzhou have deeply engaged fan communities and we can’t wait to unveil their teams,” said Nate Nanzer, commissioner of the Overwatch League. “As the league continues to grow, we’re looking forward to seeing more talented pros in action as more roster spots open up.”
“The esports phenomenon is only getting bigger and the Overwatch League is at the center of the excitement,” said Dallas Clement, chief financial officer of Cox Enterprises. “Atlanta has some of the most passionate fans in the world—and now, we get to bring this energy to the Overwatch League. We are thrilled to help lead the evolution of esports by building a team in our hometown."
"The popularity of Overwatch and esports in general has created a diverse fanbase that we in Atlanta are excited to engage,” said Paul Hamilton, president and CEO of Atlanta Esports Ventures, a partnership between Cox Enterprises and Province, Inc. “With the creativity of Blizzard Entertainment and the determination of Atlanta Esports Ventures, we are poised to create the preeminent esports team in the heart of the Southeast.”
“We are so excited to bring an Overwatch League team to Guangzhou,” said Zhong Naixiong, chairman of the Nenking Group. “The Nenking Group and the Long Lions have deep roots in this region, and we can’t wait to represent our city on the world stage and make our fans proud.”
Further details about official names, marks, and rosters for Atlanta and Guangzhou will be announced soon by each team in conjunction with the Overwatch League. Information about other new Overwatch League teams and the 2019 season schedule will be released at a later date.
The 2017–2018 Overwatch League season concludes with the All-Star Weekend on August 25–26 at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles in Burbank, California. On Saturday, teams from the Atlantic and Pacific Divisions will compete in a series of custom skill matches, and on Sunday, the All-Star squads will go head-to-head in the official All-Star Game Powered by Intel®.
About the Overwatch League™
The Overwatch League™ is the first major global professional esports league with city-based teams across Asia, Europe, and North America. Overwatch® was created by globally acclaimed publisher Blizzard Entertainment (a division of Activision Blizzard—Nasdaq: ATVI), whose iconic franchises have helped lay the foundations and push the boundaries of professional esports over the last 15 years. The latest addition to Blizzard’s stable of twenty-one #1 games, Overwatch was built from the ground up for online competition, with memorable characters and fast-paced action designed for the most engaging gameplay and spectator experiences. To learn more about the Overwatch League, visit www.overwatchleague.com.
About Nenking Group
Nenking (Holdings) Group Co., Ltd. is a conglomerate with diversified businesses across property development and management, financial services, pharmaceuticals, and sports & entertainment, including the Guangzhou Long Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association. Nenking businesses are largely based in the Pearl River Delta region of Guangdong in Southern China with significant presence in the greater metropolitan area of Guangzhou and Foshan.
About Cox Enterprises
Cox Enterprises is a leading communications, media, and automotive services company. With revenues over $20 billion and approximately 60,000 employees, the company's major operating subsidiaries include Cox Communications (cable-television distribution, high-speed internet access, telephone, home security and automation, commercial telecommunications, and advertising solutions); Cox Automotive (automotive-related auctions, financial services, media and software solutions); and Cox Media Group (television and radio stations, digital media, newspapers, and advertising sales rep firms). The company's major national brands include Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, and Manheim. Through Cox Automotive, the company's international operations stretch across Asia, Australia, Europe, and Latin America. To learn more about Cox's commitment to people, sustainability, and our communities, please visit www.coxcsrreport.com.
About Province, Inc.
Province, Inc. is a national financial advisory firm focusing on growth opportunities, restructuring, and fiduciary-related services. The firm is regularly hired to provide solutions in many of the largest and most complex cases in the country.
© 2018 Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. OVERWATCH, OVERWATCH LEAGUE, BLIZZARD, and BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT are trademarks of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., in the United States and/or other countries.
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Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements: Information in this press release that involves Blizzard Entertainment's expectations, plans, intentions or strategies regarding the future, including statements about the 2019 Overwatch League season and the dates and features of the All-Star Weekend, are forward-looking statements that are not facts and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause Blizzard Entertainment's actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements set forth in this release include unanticipated product delays and other factors identified in the risk factors sections of Activision Blizzard’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. The forward-looking statements in this release are based upon information available to Blizzard Entertainment and Activision Blizzard as of the date of this release, and neither Blizzard Entertainment nor Activision Blizzard assumes any obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements believed to be true when made may ultimately prove to be incorrect. These statements are not guarantees of the future performance of Blizzard Entertainment or Activision Blizzard and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond its control and may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.