Blizzard and Activision has confirmed that all teams in the Overwatch League will have to use geolocated brands. Each team will have to be its own individual entity with branding that is specific for the league. This is similar to professional sports leagues with teams having to use their own nicknames to go along with their city or region identifiers.
The brands are going to include individual business corporations that are linked to them. These corporations will link up with or overlap with the staff that runs Overwatch League teams.
Commissioner Nate Nanzer states that each team needs to be its own intellectual property like with other sporting organizations. Part of this is to keep the Overwatch League unique and influential to the esports world in general. This is also to make some of these teams a little easier to identify against others.
All individual team owners will have to establish their own brands. It is unclear as to what those brands would feature witihn their names as they appear.
One team has already gone forward with trying to get its own brand applied. On August 16, NetEase sent out an application for the Overwatch League team based out of Shanghai. They submitted the “Shanghai Dragons” name to the United States Patent and Trademark Office as a means of getting a team trademark. The Shanghai team is expected to go under that name. Thus they are leading to the recent confirmation that all teams in the league will have with their own trademarks.
Such trademarks may not only help with identifying teams but could also be used for merchandising opportunities. Just like with other sports teams, the teams in this new league could work with their own merchandising efforts to earn revenues and to sell their products to fans.
Other Branding Issues
The Overwatch League branding efforts are being used to make it so the league has an appearance similar to that of a professional sports league. In addition to city-based teams with the intention of having matches hosted in certain cities starting from the second season, the league has been using imagery and branding to make the league more visible and identifiable.
However, the league’s logo has been subject to controversy surrounding a trademark dispute with Major League Baseball. This comes as Major League Baseball claims that the logo used by the Overwatch League is too similar to what MLB uses.
No additional information has come out over the arguments between MLB and the Overwatch League. The trademarks used by individual teams in the new league are expected to come later before the league begins play.
The Overwatch League will start play during the later part of 2017. The season, which will take place entirely in Los Angeles, has no particular dates or schedules yet. Although nine teams from North America and Asia will be competing. All teams have gotten into the league through the $20 million buy-in required to compete and support the formation of the league.