The Big Apple is joining the e-sports scene.
New York Excelsior will take part in the inaugural season of Activision Blizzard’s new Overwatch League, making them the first e-sports team to represent New York City. The announcement came Monday from Sterling.VC, an investment fund co-founded by New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon that owns the franchise.
Also known as NYXL, the team will begin its first season on Jan. 10 in Los Angeles, alongside the 11 other franchises. The plan is to shift every team to its respective home city for season two. The league will compete in “Overwatch,” a team-based, first-person multiplayer video game published and developed by Blizzard Entertainment.
Despite the delayed arrival in NYC, the team aims to keep things New York-centric from the start.
“Every decision that we make regarding this franchise is with the city in mind,” Farzam Kamel, a partner at Sterling.VC, told amNewYork. “We want to draw on all the strengths of the city when it comes to our brand, content, events and general attitude.”
NYXL, comprised of eight players from South Korea, will rely on what Kamel said is already one of the largest “Overwatch” communities in the country, along with a rabid sports fan base in NYC.
“To bring esports into the mainstream, we need to tap into fandom that’s central to people’s pride in their city,” he said. “That fandom exists in New York City.”