The way we consume sports is changing drastically, and the sports themselves are changing as well. Bob Fernandez of Philly.com reports that Comcast Spectator has acquired a Philadelphia franchise for a new professional e-sports league.
The league currently has 12 global teams, and will be modeled after the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL and others with city based teams to generate local fans. Owned by Blizzard Entertainment, the league called Overwatch will require each player to be paid a minimum salary of $50,000.
Comcast Spectator is the current ownership group for the Philadelphia Flyers and their arena, the Wells Fargo Center. New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft and New York Met owners, the Wilpon family, have also purchased e-sport franchises within the same league.
The league does not expect large TV rights deals, but the industry is growing rapidly. According to Newzoo, the e-sports data expert, the global audience for 2017 was expected to reach 385 million people, with its economy nearing $700 million for this year alone.
E-sport tournaments are usually viewed on live streaming services, but ESPN, Turner, and even NBC have invested in e-sports recently, broadcasting tournaments on live television.