Business Wire

Blizzard Entertainment Establishes Professional Sports League for Overwatch®

Friday, Nov 04, 2016

IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Overwatch®, Blizzard Entertainment’s blockbuster team-based shooter, is now over 20 million players strong, and among that number are a new generation of sports heroes. With more and more players continuing to distinguish themselves in the game, Blizzard Entertainment today announced the creation of the Overwatch League—a world-class sports ecosystem for professional Overwatch competition. Combining Blizzard’s esports pedigree with the best practices of major professional sports, the Overwatch League will focus on long-term stability for teams as well as opportunities for players to establish the types of professional careers associated with traditional sports.

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“The Overwatch League represents not only the pinnacle of Overwatch competition, but also a genuine career opportunity for the most skilled Overwatch players,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We’re building a league that’s accessible to players and fans, sustainable, and exciting for everyone involved.”

The inaugural season of the Overwatch League will begin in 2017. At the start of the season, Blizzard will host a combine, where eligible players who have previously distinguished themselves in competition will be invited to try out for teams. Players at the combine will be evaluated across a range of tests, giving teams the opportunity to sign those who best round out their rosters. Anyone picked up by a team during the signing period will be guaranteed a contract that includes a baseline minimum salary and benefits package.

To support the growth and sustainability of local fan bases, Overwatch League teams will represent major cities from different regions. Once these city-based teams have been admitted to the league, their spots will be secured, giving them the best opportunity to grow and thrive for years to come.

Team announcements and additional Overwatch League information will be shared in the coming months. In the meantime, players who aspire to compete in the Overwatch League should continue making a name for themselves in Overwatch.

To learn more about the Overwatch League, visit the official website at www.overwatchleague.com.

ABOUT OVERWATCH

Built from the ground up to usher in a new era of competitive gaming, Overwatch is a team-based shooter that features a cast of 23 different heroes—each with their own unique arsenal of extraordinary weapons and incredible abilities. As battles to capture and control objectives play out in exotic locations all over the world, players can switch between these heroes on the fly, adapting their team’s composition to the ever-changing state of the battlefield.

ABOUT BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT, INC.

Best known for blockbuster hits including World of Warcraft®, Hearthstone®, Overwatch®, the Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® franchises, and the multifranchise Heroes of the Storm®, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (www.blizzard.com), a division of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating some of the industry’s most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard Entertainment’s track record includes twenty-one #1 games and multiple Game of the Year awards. The company’s online-gaming service, Battle.net®, is one of the largest in the world, with millions of active players.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements:

Information in this press release that involves Blizzard Entertainment's expectations, plans, intentions or strategies regarding the future, including statements about the Overwatch League, including with respect to its components, start date, and structure, are forward-looking statements that are not facts and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause Blizzard Entertainment's actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements set forth in this release include unanticipated product delays and other factors identified in the risk factors sections of Activision Blizzard’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. The forward-looking statements in this release are based upon information available to Blizzard Entertainment and Activision Blizzard as of the date of this release, and neither Blizzard Entertainment nor Activision Blizzard assumes any obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements believed to be true when made may ultimately prove to be incorrect. These statements are not guarantees of the future performance of Blizzard Entertainment or Activision Blizzard and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond its control and may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.

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