Activision Blizzard has sold slots for its Overwatch League in Chengdu, China, and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, as the final cities in its expansion sales process, league sources told ESPN.
The Chengdu team will be owned by Huya, the popular Chinese streaming platform, sources said. In March, Chinese megacorp Tencent -- a media partner of ESPN -- invested $461.6 million in Huya, and in May, Huya went public on the New York Stock Exchange. On Tuesday, Huya stock closed with a price of $27.00 per share, with a total market cap of $5.51 billion. Huya is one of the largest streaming platforms in China and broadcasts a number of esports events, including the Overwatch League.
In Vancouver, Aquilini Investment Group -- the owner of Canucks Sports & Entertainment, the parent group of the Vancouver Canucks and Rogers Arena -- will own the slot and team, according to sources. In August, Rogers Arena hosted its first esports event, DOTA 2's The International 2018. The Overwatch League will be Canucks Sports & Entertainment's first foray into esports ownership.
Prices for these slots were not disclosed, although sources told ESPN in February that prices ranged from $35 million to $60 million. In August, the league sold its Toronto slot to the Kimel family, OverActive Media and Splyce for $35 million, sources said.
The sale of Chengdu and Vancouver brings the league up to 20 teams. Over the summer, the league has reportedly added a total of eight new teams across the United States, Canada, France and China. The new cities in the league are Atlanta and Washington, D.C., in the U.S.; Toronto and Vancouver in Canada; Paris in France; and Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Chengdu in China. New owners include Georgia media conglomerate Cox Enterprises, Chinese media company Bilibili and Olympique de Marseille parent McCourt Global.
The league will look to move its teams to the home regions by 2020, sources told ESPN in June. Of the participating teams, only one, the Los Angeles Valiant, has chosen its home venue, the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles. A number of teams, their parent companies or their investors, however, have sports venues or real estate holdings in their home cities.
Founding teams in the league include nine in the U.S., one in Europe and two in Asia. Owners for those teams range from the likes of New England Patriots parent the Kraft Group, New York Mets sister company Sterling VC, Philadelphia Flyers owner Comcast Spectacor and Los Angeles Rams, Arsenal F.C. and Denver Nuggets owner the Kroenke family. Each of the initial 12 teams agreed to pay $20 million for their slots over time, for a total of $240 million in franchise fees for the first season of the Overwatch League.
Aquilini Investment Group and Activision Blizzard did not respond to requests for comment.