When one thinks of professional sports in Atlanta, the Falcons, Braves, Hawks and United immediately come to mind.
However, another professional team is calling this sports mecca home as the Atlanta Reign, an esports team headquartered in California, will move to Atlanta early next year.
Neither the exact date of the team’s move to Atlanta nor the venue in which it would hold its competitive video/computer-related game matches has been established.
According to a news release on the team, Atlanta’s first esports regular season will run approximately from February through August with teams competing in 28 matches each. Each team will host at least two weekends of Overwatch League competition.
Reign spokeswoman Jasmine Kitterman said Atlanta was selected as an esports team primarily because the city “embodies the culture of an emerging entertainment venue as the city becomes more prominent from an international standpoint.”
The release stated Atlanta is identified as one of the world’s foremost burgeoning entertainment hubs and has become iconic for its diversity, both in its residents and culture.
Esports competition is played on computers and video games and, as Kitterman called the sport, “it is professional gaming.”
The team logo features a red phoenix rising within a royal crest, which makes reference to Atlanta’s official city seal, while the phoenix is crowned to complement the team’s name. Atlanta’s team is comprised of 10 players.
In the release, Cas “Casores” van Andel, the Reign’s player development coach, said representing Atlanta is incredible.
“We’ve never been as driven to win as when we got cheered on by so many incredible fans during our Homestand event,” he said of the July 6 and 7 weekend competition at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. “With our move to Atlanta next year, the entire team is excited about the people, the city and the atmosphere.
“We get to share the same home where so many of our amazing Reign fans and the team can’t wait to move next year and pop off even more in front of our own home crowd.”
Esports has become big business. According to a February Reuters article, global revenues are expected to reach $1.1 billion and its world audience is expected to exceed 454 million this year. Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, a 16-year-old from Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania, won the Fortnite World Cup in New York July 28, taking home a $3 million prize.
Including the Reign, the Overwatch League has 20 teams from around the world. Through July 31 (Week 1 of Stage 4), Atlanta had an overall record of 10-12 and a map record of 49-47-0, good for 14th place. The Vancouver Titans lead the league with records of 22-1 overall and 77-17-0 map.
For more information, visit reign.overwatchleague.com/en-us.