Chris Loranger Named President of Gaming for Overwatch Boston Franchise
(Aug. 22, 2017) – The Overwatch Boston franchise named Chris “HuK” Loranger the first President of Gaming for the team. In his role, Loranger will oversee all player acquisitions, training and daily operations of the team.
Loranger, a former Starcraft II professional player, will be responsible for building the Boston team, which will compete in the Overwatch League’s inaugural season at an esports arena in the Los Angeles area. He will assume his team management duties immediately in preparation for the upcoming 2017-18 season, slated to begin at the end of this year.
Loranger brings a wealth of experience to the franchise as a former esports player, co-founder of a Toronto-based team, player representative and team manager. He represented some of the sport’s premier players across many of the strongest esports titles. Loranger was a captain and manager of multiple teams and players under Good Game Agency. He has experience working for esports teams as a scout, recruiter and team builder. He has also worked with numerous corporations as a project manager, consultant and strategic advisor planning and tailoring their entrance into the esports industry.
“We are thrilled to announce the hiring of Chris as our new President of Gaming for our Overwatch franchise,“ said Robert and Jonathan Kraft. “Chris not only understands the game, but has proven himself as a strong and respected esports industry insider in all aspects of team operations. Chris will immediately get to work recruiting players and building our team roster. We are excited for him to join the Kraft Sports & Entertainment family and look forward to the inaugural Overwatch season.”
“I am very proud to accept this position,” Loranger said. “To have been selected by the Kraft family to join their well-established and highly successful portfolio of professional sports franchises is an honor. The Krafts have shown tremendous support for the vision I have for developing our Overwatch team. I know that competing at a championship level is important to ownership and fans in this region. We have a lot of work to do to build a team and create the right chemistry that will give us the opportunity to compete at that level and I look forward to the challenge. I thank Robert and Jonathan Kraft for giving me this opportunity.”
The Overwatch League™ Welcomes London, Second Los Angeles Team
Nine city-based teams on three continents are now preparing for the inaugural season.
In July, the Overwatch League™ welcomed the first seven teams into the league — Boston, Los Angeles, Miami-Orlando, New York, San Francisco, Seoul, and Shanghai — and it told you that it would be announcing more teams in the future. Well, the future is now.
On Aug. 10, 2017, the Overwatch League announced London and a second Los Angeles team as the next two teams entering the fray.
The city of London, England, has been claimed by esports organization Cloud9. Founded in 2012, Cloud9 has been a consistent leader in esports across multiple titles. The Overwatch League is 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.
“We are thrilled that Cloud9’s formidable fan base throughout Europe and the UK now has a local team to call their own.” – Jack Etienne, founder and CEO of Cloud9
Back on the West Coast of the United States, a second team for the city of Los Angeles has been snapped up by Stan Kroenke and Josh Kroenke. Known as international leaders in the sports industry, Stan and Josh Kroenke own professional teams, stadiums, and media holdings around the world. The Overwatch League is happy to be able to rely on their deep expertise in sports as work on the league continues at full speed.
“We’re going to build a great team for Los Angeles that inspires fans near and far.” – Josh Kroenke, cofounder of KSE Esports
That brings Overwatch League to a total of nine teams so far, and its latest new owners won’t be the last. Your continued support and excitement drive everything the Overwatch League does, and fuels it as it works towards the launch of the league later this year.
Remember, the player signing window is now open, and announced Overwatch League teams can add players until it closes on Oct. 30, 2017. Keep your browser bookmarked to overwatchleague.com for official news on rosters and more information about the Overwatch League as a whole. You can also follow the Overwatch League on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube and join the conversation.
Player Signings, Salaries and More in the Overwatch League™
First, the owners. Now, the players.
The first seven teams announced as Season 1 participants in the Overwatch League™ are led by a diverse mix of established esports organizations, traditional sports industry leaders, and leaders in technology, all with a shared passion for the growth of professional Overwatch® esports. Boston, Los Angeles, Miami-Orlando, New York City, San Francisco, Seoul, and Shanghai are among the first confirmed major cities that will provide the backdrops for the pinnacle of competitive Overwatch play, and the Overwatch League is working hard to include additional cities around the world as well.
To help Overwatch League team owners assemble the perfect rosters to represent their cities, the league evaluated the world’s top Overwatch players to compile a stats-based scouting report. This will help team owners discover and measure potential pro players, from the supremely skilled but unknown leaderboard standouts to the proven esports veterans with personal accolades and championships on their resumes.
Now that the Overwatch League has eager teams ready to start building would-be championship rosters, it’s time to clarify just how that will happen leading into the first season of the league. To start, all 30 million-plus Overwatch players (that are of majority age and otherwise eligible to play) are considered potential free agents with respect to the Overwatch League. Players associated with established Overwatch teams—even teams from organizations that have been announced as part of the Overwatch League —are not automatically signed to those rosters. By the same token, the Overwatch League does not preclude eligible players from joining any League team because of a previous team affiliation, as long as they are legally able to join. Players will be considered members of an Overwatch League team only when they sign the Overwatch League Player Agreement with the team of their choice and it is approved by the Overwatch League.
In preparation for the start of the Overwatch League, it is opening an official player signing window for Season 1 from Aug. 1 to Oct. 30, 2017. All announced Overwatch League teams will be able to sign players to contracts during this time, including teams that join the League during the signing window. It’s important to note that this system for selecting players will be unique to the League’s first season. In future seasons, the preseason player signing process will be updated to serve the needs of an established league, its teams, players and fans.
To offer a better understanding of what players can expect from a career in the Overwatch League, here are a few key benefits featured in the Overwatch League Player Agreement:
- Teams will sign players to one-year guaranteed contracts with the option to extend the contract for an additional year.
- The minimum salary for players is USD $50,000 per year.
- Teams will provide players with health insurance and a retirement savings plan.
- Teams will distribute at least 50 percent of their team performance bonuses (i.e. money from winning playoffs and other League events) to their players directly.
The total bonuses available for Overwatch League teams in Season 1 will amount to USD $3.5 million, with a minimum USD $1 million awarded to the Season 1 champion.
Finally, there have been questions about roster requirements and team management, including region locking and housing. Here are a few important rules that will be in effect for Overwatch League Season 1:
- Each team roster must have at least six players and no more than 12 total.
- There is no region locking in terms of the place of birth or home country of any player.
- Teams will provide player housing and practice facilities during the season which will meet professional standards set by the Overwatch League.
The Overwatch League is set to launch later this year. The support and excitement has been humbling and inspiring for everyone at the League Office. The Overwatch League looks forward to sharing more information around the League’s format and timeline, as well as keeping you up-to-date with new team announcements. Keep an eye on the Overwatch League’s Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram feeds, and find all official Overwatch League news at overwatchleague.com.
The Overwatch League™ Partners with Sports, Esports Leaders to Build Teams for Major Cities Worldwide
First major global professional esports league
Teams for Boston, Los Angeles, Miami-Orlando, New York, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai announced
Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) has announced the sale of the first Overwatch League™ teams for major global cities to seven entrepreneurs and leaders from traditional sports and esports. The Overwatch League is the first major global professional esports league with city-based teams.
New team owners include:
- Robert Kraft, Chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group and the New England Patriots (Boston)
- Jeff Wilpon, Co-Founder and Partner of Sterling.VC and COO of the New York Mets (New York)
- Noah Whinston, CEO of Immortals (Los Angeles)
- Ben Spoont, CEO and Co-Founder of Misfits Gaming (Miami-Orlando)
- Andy Miller, Chairman and Founder of NRG Esports (San Francisco)
- NetEase (Shanghai)
- Kevin Chou, Co-founder of Kabam (Seoul)
“Overwatch already connects over 30 million players worldwide. The Overwatch League will celebrate and reward our most accomplished players and give fans more opportunities to engage with each other,” said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. “We’re excited to be working with leaders from esports and traditional sports to celebrate our players and to establish the Overwatch League.”
“Overwatch is a game about a diverse group of international heroes who fight for an optimistic vision of the future, and the Overwatch League is an extension of that spirit,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We’re building this league for fans – esports fans, traditional sports fans, gaming fans – and we’re thrilled to have individuals and organizations who are as passionate about professional competition as we are, and who have extensive experience in all three fields, representing our first major international cities in the league.”
“We have been exploring the esports market for a number of years and have been waiting for the right opportunity to enter,” said Robert Kraft, Chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group. “The incredible global success of Overwatch since its launch, coupled with the League’s meticulous focus on a structure and strategy that clearly represents the future of esports made this the obvious entry point for the Kraft Group.”
“It’s an honor to be selected as one of the ownership groups in the inaugural season of its new league,” said Jeff Wilpon, co-founder and partner at Sterling.VC, a Sterling Equities venture capital fund. “We view our participation in the Overwatch League as a major opportunity to take a lead position where technology is converging with sports and media. This partnership with the Overwatch League and with some of the elite ownership groups in professional sports, offers a unique opportunity to connect with millions of dedicated fans, engaged and passionate about one of the world’s fastest growing sports, and to continue proudly representing New York.”
“Immortals has been eagerly anticipating the launch of the Overwatch League since the plans were unveiled. With our shared values and vision for the future of esports, we’re honored to be selected as one of the initial members of this global league,” said Immortals CEO Noah Whinston. “Alongside our partners at AEG, we’re excited to pioneer esports regionality as an inaugural franchise and to continue L.A.’s championship tradition.”
“Misfits Gaming is thrilled to join the Overwatch League and represent the great cities of Miami and Orlando,” said Misfits Gaming CEO and Co-Founder Ben Spoont. “Competing as part of a major city-based esports league is something we’ve always wanted to do, and together with our partner the Miami Heat we’re very excited by the potential to build something amazing for our fans in the months and years ahead. This is going to be a great experience for teams and everyone who loves esports.”
“NRG Esports couldn’t be more honored to represent San Francisco and all of Northern California for the launch of the Overwatch League,” said Andy Miller, Chairman and Founder of NRG Esports. “As big believers in Overwatch, NRG has fielded one of the most popular teams in the world since the game’s release and can’t wait to bring a hometown team to the Bay Area.”
“We’re passionate about gaming at NetEase, and the Overwatch League is an opportunity we didn’t want to miss” said William Ding, CEO of NetEase. “The commitment of Overwatch’s players and fan community is an incredible foundation on which to build a successful global league, and we’re looking forward to building a world-class team for Shanghai that inspires fans everywhere.”
“As esports enthusiasts, we’ve always seen Seoul as the place to be for world-class competitive gaming,” said Kevin Chou, co-founder of Kabam. “We’re very honored to represent the birthplace of esports as owners of the Overwatch League team in Seoul and excited to work closely with the most passionate and enthusiastic gaming community in the world.”
Overwatch was created by globally acclaimed publisher Blizzard Entertainment, known for iconic franchises including World of Warcraft®, Hearthstone®, StarCraft®, and Heroes of the Storm®, many of which have laid the foundations and helped push the boundaries of professional esports over the last 15 years. Among Blizzard’s stable of twenty #1 games over the past two decades, Overwatch is the fastest to reach more than 30 million players. Overwatch was built from the ground up for online competition, with memorable characters and fast-paced action designed for the most engaging gameplay and spectator experiences.
The Overwatch League, slated to begin later this year, is a unique opportunity for owners and players. As the first major esports league to feature a city-based structure, the league will drive development of local fan bases. For the first season of the league, regular-season matches will be played at an esports arena in the Los Angeles area, as teams develop their local venues for formal home and away play in future seasons. Matches will be played each Thursday, Friday and Saturday. A full schedule and information about ticket sales will be announced closer to launch.
The league will create value for team owners through advertising, ticketing and broadcast rights revenues, with teams receiving an equal share of all league-wide net revenues. Teams will also keep all local revenues generated through their home territory and venue up to a set amount each year, unprecedented in esports; above the set amount, a percentage is sent to the league’s shared revenue pool. In addition, teams will have a license to operate and monetize up to five amateur events in their home territory each year, and to benefit from the sale of league-affiliated fan items in Overwatch, with 50% of the revenues going into the net shared revenue pool for all teams.
The Overwatch League will also provide advertisers and sponsors with opportunities that are unparalleled in the esports space, with global fan bases not found in traditional sports, along with better targeting and analytics than traditional forms of advertising. Last year, 285 million people worldwide watched esports. The quickly-growing esports audience also includes some of the hardest to reach and most sought after demographics, with a share of millennials two to three times higher than any of the ‘Big Four’ US sports.
To learn more about the Overwatch League, visit the official website at www.overwatchleague.com.