Activision Blizzard Inc. sold two more franchises to its live-action Overwatch videogame league, adding Cox Enterprises to the list of owners of the year-old esports business.
Cox, the owner of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper and other media businesses, acquired the Atlanta franchise, while Nenking Group, a Chinese financial and entertainment conglomerate, bought the franchise for Guangzhou, China. The newest franchises are going for at least 50 percent more than the original ones that fetched about $20 million, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
Esports, in which professional contestants play video games in front of live and online audiences, has been a fast-growing new market. The Overwatch League, based on Activision’s cartoonish shooting game of the same name, ended its first season last weekend with a victory by the London Spitfire.
Separately, Activision reported second-quarter earnings, excluding some items, rose to 41 cents a share, beating analysts’s estimates of 35 cents. Revenue, also reported on an adjusted basis, totaled $1.39 billion and was in line with projections. The company cited ongoing play and purchases for core franchises such as Call of Duty and Candy Crush.