The Overwatch League team, owned by Kraft Sports & Entertainment, has announced a merger with Oxygen Esports and will enter the 2022 Call of Duty League as the 12th competing team.
The Kraft Group, headed by Robert Kraft, is huge in New England Sports. In addition to Boston Uprising, the group also owns the NFL’s New England Patriots, the MLS’s New England Revolution and the Gillette Stadium, where both teams play. Oxygen Esports recently announced a new $20m funding round, led by Banner Ventures, and it is believed that this investment is required to secure the spot in the Call of Duty League. This merger means that Kraft Sports & Entertainment has teams in both of Activision Blizzard’s top esports leagues, which pioneered the franchise model and persuaded traditional sports team owners to invest in esports.
Stacey Jones, Kraft family spokesperson, said: “The Kraft family could not be more excited to broaden their exposure to esports. By combining the Boston Uprising with Oxygen Esports, and announcing a Boston Call of Duty franchise, New England will be a powerful player in competitive gaming. With Oxygen functioning as the operator and their multitude of new titles and leagues, they are shaping the future of esports for all New England gaming fans.”
Oxygen CEO, Murphy Vandervelde, added: “We are ecstatic to welcome the Krafts and all our new capital partners to the OXG family and believe that together we are positioned to dominate the New England gaming market. Combining the sports, live events and business acumen of these established partners, OXG’s notable esports operating experience and multiple exclusive league operating agreements, we have overnight created a leader in the global esports industry.”