Rams owner Kroenke buys stake in Blizzard Overwatch League – Orange County Register

Stan Kroenke, owner of the Los Angeles Rams, and his son, Josh, have bought an e-sports team from Irvine-based Blizzard Entertainment.

Rams owner Stan Kroenke and his son have bought a Overwatch League team based in Los Angeles. The pro gamer league pays players to compete and stakes can get as high as a $1 million prize.<br />(Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

The company said Thursday, Aug. 10, that it sold an “Overwatch” league team in Los Angeles to the Kroenkes. It also announced the sale of a London team to Jack Etienne, founder of Cloud9, an esports company.

Terms of the sales were not disclosed.

The Overwatch League is the first e-sports league with city-based teams, according to Blizzard.

Overwatch is a popular Blizzard shooter game. In league play, teams of gamers compete online, much as two football team play on a field. Players select from one of 24 characters, or heroes, and are divided into two teams of six.

There are two city-based Overwatch teams in Los Angeles along with teams in London, Boston, Miami-Orlando, New York, San Francisco, Seoul, and Shanghai. The other Los Angeles-based team is owned by Noah Whinston, CEO of Immortals, another e-sports organization.

“Overwatch is a global game, with heroes – and players – from around the world, so it’s important to us that as many Overwatch League fans as possible have local or regional teams to root for,” Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment, said in a statement. “In addition to broadening the competitive field for Season 1, we’re excited that today’s announcement helps set the stage for more epic intercontinental rivalries.”

The Overwatch League will begin later this year. Players can be signed Aug. 1 through Oct. 30. They can earn a minimum of $50,000 a year and at least half of team performance bonuses. They also are given health insurance and a retirement savings plan, housing and practice facilities.

UC Irvine in July said it will begin offering scholarships to those who represent the university competing Overwatch. UCI officials see e-sports as a recruiting tool, letting student-gamers explore their passion between classes. In September, the university opened a new eSports Arena, the first of its kind in a public university.

Blizzard Entertainment is owned by Santa Monica-based Activision Blizzard Inc.

Staff writer Tomoya Shimura contributed to this report.

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