Blizzard Entertainment has finalized deals with its next two Overwatch League buyers, which includes rights to the cities of Houston and Philadelphia for $20 million per spot, sources close to the buyers and the game developer told ESPN.
In Philadelphia, Blizzard sealed the deal with Comcast Spectacor, the owner of the Philadelphia Flyers and sports branch of cable giant Comcast. OpTic Gaming and its new investor, a group led by Texas Rangers co-owner Neil Leibman, have purchased a spot in Houston.
Blizzard is currently pursuing Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wesley Edens -- who is likely to participate -- and has offered him a slot with Chicago on the table, but no deal has been finalized and the location is subject to change, one source said. Regardless of location, Edens's team will be operated by his esports franchise, FlyQuest.
Each Overwatch League owner, including FlyQuest and OpTic, will need to create new brands, per Blizzard's rules of participation. The names for these geolocated brands have not yet been determined, sources said.
Blizzard has now recruited 13 teams, with 14 to be the total number for Season 1, according to sources. The launch of the league is set for the end of the year and will take place in Blizzard's new esports arena in Burbank, California, the developer announced last week.
The move will be Spectacor's first venture into esports. The Philadelphia-based company has owned the Philadelphia Flyers since its formation in 1974. It previously owned the Philadelphia 76ers until 2011 and currently operates several sports television channels, collectively called Comcast SportsNet.
OpTic and FlyQuest haven't held teams in Overwatch previously. OpTic is best known for its time in other first-person shooter games, including Call of Duty and Halo. FlyQuest has owned a League of Legends team since its formation in December, where Edens purchased Cloud9 Challenger's League Championship Series slot for a reported $1.8 million.
Prior to sealing these three deals, Blizzard had enlisted 10 buyers across the United States, England, China and South Korea. In the U.S., parties affiliated with the New England Patriots, New York Mets, Sacramento Kings, Miami Heat, Texas Rangers and several endemic esports brands have bought into the league. Internationally, Cloud9 purchased the slot for London, internet company NetEase purchased Shanghai and Kabam founders Kevin Chou and Kent Wakeford went for the Seoul, South Korea, slot.
Blizzard declined to comment.