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In the unlikely city of New York, Esports is alive and well. At least, we think it is. Blizzard’s big announcement about the first seven teams includes New York and Boston. Two East Coast rivalries with decades of history. Now however, they are entering into Esports with little experience in the sport, but they have something else…
Money and influence. Recently, you may have seen this article regarding the East Coast endorsements from Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, Jeff Wilpon, and Bob Kraft. They all appeared on CNBC together to promote a solid foundation for the East Coast. These teams will have huge financial resources behind them. They will pull on traditions in both cities to build a following and create an atmosphere around them like no other. New York will be at the epicenter based on population alone.
In the interview, Jeff Wilpon said the following:
“Basically, because of the structure Bobby put together with his team. That there is going to be a sharing of revenues from the central point, which we don’t have in baseball as much. Some of the other sports do, and I thought that it was a great model to be able to really grow this, and in five to ten years, the franchise values should be quite a bit more than they are today.”
This brings up a solid point that teams will share in the overall profits. Side note, Kotick was fantastic in Moneyball, even if you are not a baseball fan, that movie speaks volumes of what the Overwatch League may have to deal with in terms of Esports athletes.
Which brings in our next point, how is NY going to get players? Will they import like everyone else? Or will there be home grown talent. One thing is for sure, many early NY teams are built on tradition, a tradition which started so far back you had to have local players involved. This is the big trick for NY, home grown talent.
The other battle will be NY media. They are brutal. Every sports team suffers horrific headlines and pictures if they fail, but on the flip side are praised and rewarded if they win. People will talk about you for years. You can never do wrong again, and you if you were on a winning team you will likely never pay for a dinner in town again either!
So New York will be critical to the league overall. NY is THE biggest market in the U.S. hands down. How it will shape up and build around the city is going to be the true meter of success or failure. You have the best venues in NY with Madison Square Garden and about six other major stadiums that can host huge events. It would make sense for NY to be an early contender in the possible championship event just based on population and venue availability alone. Heck they even held a Super Bowl here in February! NY will be the team to watch, how it plays out will make headlines worth reading that’s for sure.