Blizzard Entertainment has issued an official statement in response to the recent surge of reported news surrounding its competitive Overwatch League, addressing the rumours of team pricing, deal terms, and more.
In a statement sent to Yahoo Esports, the company stated:
“We appreciate that there’s a lot of enthusiasm about the Overwatch League, which has translated into months of speculation–including reports circulating unverified and wildly ranging rumors from anonymous sources about purported deal terms, team pricing, and other details. We understand the interest in the rumors, and we feel it’s important to clarify some things for our community.
“First, we want to be clear that our ultimate goal is to create an exciting Overwatch esports ecosystem, the pinnacle of which will be the Overwatch League, that’s accessible to a wide audience, sustainable, and rewarding for everyone involved. We’re doing our best to take great care with building this ecosystem, and as with much of what we do, we don’t release information until we’re at a place where it makes sense to do so.
“Second, we’d like to dispel any rumors that we’re ignoring endemics. Anyone who knows Blizzard understands how deeply we care about the communities around our games. The league is built upon the best elements of endemic esports programs and traditional sports, and we’re in active discussions with many teams and owners from both worlds because it will take a village to stand up a league with such an unprecedented structure. Those conversations have been going well and there’s a lot of excitement around our ambitious plans.
“Finally, it’s important to think twice about statements from unnamed sources, who may try to leverage the media to deliberately spread misinformation as bargaining tactics or for other competitive reasons. We look forward to officially sharing real details about the league and the ecosystem as a whole as we continue the development process. In the meantime we are staying focused on our goal of creating an awesome Overwatch esports experience for players, partners, and fans, and we want to thank everyone for their continued support.”
It’s worth noting that the statement acknowledges the role of both esports and traditional sports teams, saying that the conversations with both sides have been “going well.”
Overwatch League was first announced at BlizzCon 2016, which was hosted in November 2016. Since then Blizzard has remained largely silent on releasing details, although Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick did recently state that the company was aiming for NBA and NFL-sized revenues with Overwatch League. Three months ago, Blizzard president and co-founder Mike Morhaime confirmed during an earnings call