I’ve seen a lot of people talking about how a majority of Overwatch League (OWL) teams are owned by US based organizations. People seem frustrated by this because the league is being marketed as a “global” league. It is argued that the Asian and European teams being owned by Americans doesn’t make much sense if this is the case. I wanted to take a look at who actually owns each OWL team, what their country of origin is, and how it compares to a few other leagues (LCS, NHL, Champions 2018).
Let’s start with what I find to be the most interesting result. OWL has 4/20 (20%) teams that are owned by someone from a different country. The Champions League beats that by two. 6/28 (21%) teams are owned by someone from a different country. As someone whose sports background is mainly in hockey, I didn’t realize how many soccer clubs were owned by foreigners.
After thinking about it, it makes a lot of sense. European Soccer is perhaps the biggest money maker in global sports. Everyone across the globe is going to try and get a slice of that pie.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the NHL only has 1/31 (3%) teams owned by an out of town-er. The Ottawa Senators are owned by Eugene Melnyk (sorry Sens fans), who is, from my research, living in Barbados. The only other NHL team with a non-native owner are the Penguins, who have mixed ownership.
For the eSports comparison I took a look at both the European and North American LCS. The LCS also only has one foreign owner and one example of mixed ownership out of 17 teams. G2 Esports is listed as a Spanish organization, but their LCS team is based out of Berlin. 100 Thieves has three owners, with no clear majority. Since all the owners live in the US/Canada, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say the team operates in the same country as its owners. However, the NA LCS is located in Los Angeles, so I decided to go with mixed.
To start, I found 90% of the info on Wikipedia. Anything that didn’t come from there, either came from the companies website, LinkedIn, or a couple random sites.
For the “owner” I went as high up the chain as I felt was realistic. For example, Atlanta Reign is owned by Cox Enterprises, but the Cox Family owns Cox Enterprises. I wasn’t going to track down the whole family and where each member lives. On the other hand, Comcast Spectacor owns the Fusion, but Comcast owns Comcast Spectacor. So I went with Comcast.
In cases where there is a clear majority (51%+) owner, I’d use their country as the “owners country.”
If I couldn’t figure out where and individual currently lived, I used their birth country.
Here are the tables I used to generate my data. Green is means the same country, blue means mixed, and peach means different.
Data was collected in October/November 2018 and is subject to become wildly inaccurate.