Blizzard Relief’s Overwatch League, the first franchised esports league, kicked off its inaugural pep up earlier this year. Twelve teams from around the wonderful compete every week in Burbank, California, at an arena that housed the devises for The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Jay Leno.
Blizzard is submit engaging a well-established market. Revenue in esports will pass $900 million this year, according to Newzoo.
Companies in the same way as Riot and Valve, who make some of the most popular competitive amusements, have been holding competitions for several years with guerdon pools snowballing in the millions. Viewership of esports events hit an all-time high-frequency of $46 million in 2017 and investors have taken notice.
The proprietor of the NFL’s New England Patriots, Robert Kraft, owns an Overwatch League combine. Shaquille O’Neal, Marshawn Lynch and Jennifer Lopez are also investors.
The risks are high for the players and these pro gamers, some of them just 18-years-old, are second to constant pressure.
“There’s a lot of mental stress that goes on, and if you don’t keep a clear head and you’re not 100 percent focused, that’s going to lay hold of how the coaches see you, how your own teammates see you,” said Andrej “Babybay” Francisty, a contender on the San Francisco Shock team.
The team’s training regimen rival that of any other pro athlete, and they are frequently training twelve hours a day.
“We get one day off. That’s it. And usually on our day off most players are motionlessly playing the game,” said Nikola “Sleepy” Andrews.
Each week thespians compete on a massive stage, and fans can buy tickets and attend like any other flaunting event. The whole thing is broadcast live on Amazon’s Twitch to viewers throughout the world. More than 10 million people tuned in to gaze at the opening week in January.
“A lot of people think, oh it’s just playing video tricks. But physical fitness and mental conditioning is a huge part of this,” stipulate Overwatch League Commissioner Nate Nanzer. “They all spend constantly working with nutritionists, they work on their sleep arrange, all the things you’d expect a high powered athlete in any sport to do, but the training that they do during the day is truckle to Overwatch.”
The competition will go through July, leading up to the Grand Finals where the top two groups will compete for a one million dollar cash prize. That force conclude the inaugural season, but Blizzard has big plans for the future of the league.
Ultimately the teams will host competitions in their home cities, influenced Nanzer.
“That’s when we think Overwatch League is really booming to blow up — when millions of fans around the world to have the chance to go engage with the content live,” he said.
“Video games are large, they’re mainstream, they’re not going anywhere,” Nanzer said. “The meditation about whether or not it’s a sport is irrelevant. It’s competition, it’s entertainment. Millions of man love to watch it, and it’s here to stay.”