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NetEase was selected as the first China-based team owner of the Overwatch League, as officially announced on July 12. Being one of the first seven successful entrepreneurs and leaders from traditional sports and esports to lead professional teams in the league, NetEase will assemble a talented roster which the fans in Shanghai will be proud of and organize a series of local Overwatch events in Shanghai.
The Overwatch League is the first major global, city-based pro esports league in the world. Since Blizzard Entertainment's global launch of Overwatch, more than 30 million players have immersed themselves in a dynamic vision of Earth's future that celebrates diverse heroes and colorful communities across the world. By bringing together best practices from esports and traditional sports, the Overwatch League's professional teams aim to create amazing competitions across major cities on present-day Earth.
As proved by traditional sports models and events, city-based teams will create a highly diversified, one-of-a-kind experience for fans throughout the world, with each city bringing its own personality and cultural inspiration to the competition.
"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."
There has been a stable long-term partnership between NetEase and Blizzard Entertainment over the past decade, during which NetEase has acted as the Chinese operator for Blizzard's hit titles including World of Warcraft® and Overwatch, and as the organizer for successful Blizzard esports competitions including the popular Gold League games for Hearthstone® and Heroes of the Storm®.
The new partnership for the Overwatch League signals NetEase's further steps to cooperate with global esports and game companies, which is a big boon for Chinese esports fans and players as they can expect competitive gaming experiences that are more diverse and higher quality. The cooperation is also a key step in NetEase's goal to foster an amplified and vibrant local esports community in China.
The Overwatch League is on track to begin later this year.