As it was recently reported by Jacob Wolf at ESPN, Activision Blizzard has put down some surprising terms for franchising the Overwatch League, a professional esports organization that it has yet to launch. According to the report, investors are hesitant to buy into the league’s franchising terms, and Overwatch players in the forums are getting fired up about what seems like a greedy cash grab.
Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League Terms
According to ESPN’s Wolf, multiple sources have confirmed that Activision Blizzard is asking for a $20 million franchise fee, with even higher prices in large markets such as New York and Los Angeles. Contrasted with the $1-2 million price tag on a spot in the NA LCS, and even investors who are committed to esports find themselves wondering if the high price will pay off.
Adding to the confusion is the fact that franchise teams are not guaranteed any revenue sharing until 2021. Combine those two red flags and a lot of companies are thinking twice about investing in the Overwatch League.
Meanwhile, the players are reacting in kind via the official Overwatch forums. A thread in the forum linking to the ESPN article has plenty of Overwatch players and fans lamenting everything from the lack of focus on fixing game bugs to the merger between Activision and Blizzard Entertainment, now nearly a decade old.
In a plot twist, PC Gamer recently ran a response from Activision Blizzard, wherein the publisher and developer claims that the exorbitant franchising fees are potentially misinformation fed to the media by potential investors looking to influence their competition. They also emphasize their commitment to the game and creating a professional circuit league worthy of the success of Overwatch.