Seven South Korean teenagers walked away with $1 million (R13 million) after winning the inaugural Overwatch League Grand Finals, hosted in New York.
The league has caught the imagination of the esports world for offering lucrative packages for players including a chance at $3.5 million in performance bonuses, as well as earning a $50,000 base salary, with healthcare and retirement savings plans, and housing provided during the season.
The series ended with a grand final, in a packed-out stadium filled with 20,000 screaming fans at the Barclays Centre in New York. If that wasn’t pressure enough a further seven million were watching online.
The winners from London Spitfire are all young adults between 18 and 21 years old from South Korea who moved to London in the hope of becoming the next generation of esports stars.
The Spitfires beat Philadelphia Fusion, another group of teenagers, made up of talented players from nine countries, including Israel, South Korea, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
For those confused parents out there, who have no idea what Overwatch is and who don’t have a kid of their own to explain it to them: this is a team-based first-person shooter game, in which players choose heroes with different fighting abilities. Teams duke it out in round-robin type matches with different objectives, like capturing or defending a point or else transporting a payload from point A to B.
The Overwatch league comprised of 12 city-based teams, 9 from the United States and teams from Shanghai, Seoul and London.
Owned by gaming company Blizzard Entertainment, Overwatch has ranked among the top four games most-watched esports on game streaming channel Twitch, with an average of 13,85 million hours’ worth every month in 2018.
The league sold team slots at $20 million each to the likes of New England Patriots ownership the Kraft Group, New York Mets sister company Sterling.VC and Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Rams owners the Kroenke family, reported ESPN.
It also reported a further $200 million was made in sponsorship and broadcasting sales; its sponsors include Intel, HP Omen, Toyota, T-Mobile, Spotify and more, with many of these deals valued at over $10 million.
As Season 2 approaches, more teams may be added to the roster at a cost of anywhere between $30 and $60 million each.
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