Arsenal Football Club’s majority shareholder Stan Kroenke has made an investment in esports.
He’s become the second to buy an Overwatch League spot in Los Angeles, along with his son Josh Kroenke.
The Kroenkes have several investments in sport under the Kroenke Sport and Entertainment holding company, including the likes of the LA Rams, Denver Nuggets and three Colorado sides.
Stan has come under fire from Arsenal fans of late for launching hunting channel My Outdoor TV, and has since been forced to remove bloodsports content from the channel. A #StandAgainstStan protest will take place at the Emirates Stadium this week by some Arsenal fans during their first game of the season against Leicester City.
Blizzard said in a statement: “Known as international leaders in the sports industry, Stan and Josh Kroenke own professional teams, stadiums, and media holdings around the world. We’re very happy to be able to rely on their deep expertise in sports as work on the Overwatch League continues at full speed.”
Josh Kroenke added: “We’re going to build a great team for Los Angeles that inspires fans near and far.”
Blizzard has also announced that North American-based esports organisation Cloud9 has taken the London Overwatch League slot, and will be invested in reaching out to esports fans in the UK.
“We are excited that they are building a team based in the United Kingdom and becoming the first team to represent Europe’s unique community in a truly global league,” Blizzard added.
Jack Etienne, founder and CEO of Cloud9, commented: “We are thrilled that Cloud9’s formidable fanbase throughout Europe and the UK now has a local team to call their own.”
Etienne also said, as reported by Forbes: “We have a massive fan-base in Europe already, and London, in particular, I believe is under-served and doesn’t have an esports team to call its own.
“There is a large entry fee to get into this, but what made it a lot more attractive to me was when I found out I could secure London. It really expands to all of England. For ticket sales and local sponsorships, I’m going to be able to tap a really unique and large area where there’s no competition in reaching these folks, whereas all the North American teams will be competing for the same sponsorships and fans to show up to events.”
This means there are now nine teams in the Overwatch League, a new franchise where team slots are rumoured to cost around $20m.
Cloud9 and the Kroenkes join teams from Boston, Los Angeles, Miami-Orlando, New York, San Francisco, Seoul and Shanghai.
Overwatch League teams can currently sign players, up until the player signing window closes at the end of October.
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
A keen League of Legends and World of Warcraft player, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He works as full-time content director for the British Esports Association and runs ENUK in his spare time.