New teams from London and Los Angeles and have joined Blizzard's ambitious Overwatch League, a global affair that will pit city-based teams against one another.
The new arrivals join teams already confirmed from Boston, Los Angeles, Miami-Orlando, New York, San Francisco, Seoul, and Shanghai.
Esports organisation Cloud9 founder Jack Etienne purchased the rights to the London team, while billionaire sports team owner Stan Kroenke and his son Josh purchased the rights to a Los Angeles team – the league's second.
Stan Kroenke is owner of the NBA's Denver Nuggets, the NHL's Colorado Avalanche, Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids, the National Lacrosse League's Colorado Mammoth, and the NFL's Los Angeles Rams.
He also owns sports-media conglomerate Kroenke Sports & Entertainment.
Josh Kroenke is president of both the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche, as well as non-executive director of English association football club Arsenal F.C..
Thanks to his mother, Ann Walton Kroenke, Josh is also heir to the Wal-Mart family inheritance.
"Building communities around the best competitive experiences in the world is incredibly rewarding, and the Overwatch League offers the chance to create something special," said Josh Kroenke.
"We’re impressed by the vision and strategy for the League, and we’re going to build a great team for Los Angeles that inspires fans near and far."
With today’s announcement, the League now includes nine teams, including teams from Asia, Europe, and North America. Check out our in-depth feature on the league's inception and its other teams and owners here.
"The Overwatch League has amazing momentum and today’s announcement is another step towards building a successful global league," said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.
"We’re thrilled to be bringing together more leaders from esports like Jack of Cloud9 and traditional sports like Stan and Josh of the LA Rams, Arsenal Football Club, Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche, to create an amazing competition that celebrates and rewards players and fans in London, Los Angeles, and beyond."
The Overwatch League is slated to begin later this year, with an official player signing window for Season 1 open from August 1 to October 30.
Players will earn a minimum of US$50,000 each year, and at least 50 percent of team performance bonuses from winning playoffs and other league events will go directly to players.
Teams will provide players with health insurance and a retirement savings plan, as well as player housing and practice facilities during the season which will meet professional standards set by the Overwatch League.
Blizzard promised more information about the League’s format and timeline, as well as new team announcements, will be shared over the coming months.