Cloud9 buys London, Kroenkes grab L.A. Overwatch League spots

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Blizzard Entertainment has secured the next two buyers for its Overwatch League, the company confirmed to SportsBusiness Journal on Thursday.

The organization has buy-in from endemic organization Cloud9, which will obtain the London spot, the first in Europe. The Kroenke family, which includes L.A. Rams and Denver Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke, and their new esports business KSE Esports will take the second Los Angeles spot.

Each team will buy in for $20 million, the standard league price for the previous owners, sources told ESPN. Additionally, sources say Blizzard has set a goal of 12 teams for the first Overwatch League season. Cloud9 and the Kroenke family are the eighth and ninth announced teams to buy in. Team EnVyUs, set to be backed by Hersh Family Investments, is expected to take the Austin-Dallas, Texas, spot as previously reported by ESPN on Monday.

The initial announcement of seven teams was headlined by Robert Kraft and the Kraft Sports Group, who own the New England Patriots, and Sterling Equities, owners of the New York Mets. Other parties involved include those affiliated with the Sacramento Kings, the Miami Heat and more.

Blizzard told SportsBusiness Journal that they eventually hope to sell 28 permanent franchises.

According to SportsBusiness Journal, Cloud9 said they will launch a second investment round in the coming months to fund the venture, which will be paid over time in installments. The company's seed round in March took investments from backers such as Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly, Golden State Warriors co-owner Chamath Palihapitiya and Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Montana.

"Cloud9 still continues to be profitable, and as far as my investors are concerned, they're convinced that the Overwatch League is going to do well," Cloud9 CEO Jack Etienne told ESPN. "The league that Overwatch is making is really unique in the sense that it's global -- it's not a regional league -- and in esports, we always see the largest viewership in international events."

The Los Angeles-based Cloud9 will remain in California for the majority of its operations for the time being. Despite building a brand in London, the first season of the Overwatch League will take place in Los Angeles, Blizzard announced several weeks ago, with the venue still to be announced.

The deals mark the first esports investment by the Kroenke family.