Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Kraft has purchased another professional sports team

Alex Reimer
July 13, 2017 - 12:06 pm

Robert Kraft is adding a third professional sports team to his portfolio. The Patriots and Revolution owner is now a charter member of the new “Overwatch League,” purchasing a franchise for $20 million. The international e-sports league includes seven clubs based in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Miami-Orlando, San Francisco, Shanghai and Seoul.

The “Overwatch” video game features two teams comprised of six players, with each player selecting one of 24 pre-defined characters. Fighting in a futuristic setting, players look to kill their opponents and attack other teams’ control points on the map. 

Though “Overwatch” is far from the only e-sports league, it’s the only one that’s tying teams to specific cities. Commissioner Nate Nanzer says the geographic angle has been implemented as a revenue producer. “We did a lot of research into traditional sports, and how do traditional sports teams make money, and what we saw is that in traditional sports teams make money because they have a venue and host home games and sell tickets and merchandise and all that, and that’s completely missing from e-sports,” he explained to the Verge.

Kraft, for his part, appears enthused about the league’s prospects. "Having 30 million players and this point, just, this evolution really appeals to us -- the concept of having a team in the new England region,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg. 

The $20 million buy-in is a hefty price, considering MLS teams could be purchased for as little as $10 million a decade ago. The fact that Kraft was willing to pay it shows his belief in the concept. 

Matches for the league’s first season will take place in Los Angeles before moving across the country. The “Overwatch League” is expected to kick off before the end of the year.

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