So far, Blizzard has revealed that 12 teams across 11 cities and four countries will be participating in its upcoming, ambitious Overwatch e-sports league. But we haven’t heard anything about what those teams will look like or what they’ll be called — until now, that is. Today, the Overwatch League’s sole Chinese franchise became the first to reveal its official name, logo, and colors. The Shanghai Dragons will sport a sleek shield icon, and utilize a red, white, yellow, and black color scheme.
The branding looks much more like a traditional sports club than an e-sports franchise. The shield is both a dragon and a stylized S, and there are English and Chinese variants of the design, in keeping with the league’s global ambitions. It also appears that Blizzard will be creating customs skins for each team; a new image shows in-game character Mei sporting the Shanghai Dragons colors and logo
“In Chinese culture, the dragon symbolizes the spirit of that which is sacred, powerful, and supreme,” the team explained in a press release. “The Shanghai Dragons' logo combines the team’s name and a dragon figure to call upon the history of this symbol.”
The Dragons are operated by Chinese internet giant NetEase, one of a number of high-profile owners to take on a franchise in the budding e-sports league. That includes both established e-sports groups like Cloud9 and the Immortals, as well as the owners of some of the biggest names in traditional sports, like Arsenal, the New England Patriots, and the New York Mets. In addition to the Dragons and a number of franchises in the United States, the league will also feature teams in London and Seoul.
The new logo’s similarities to traditional sports teams shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Since its inception, the Overwatch League has attempted to emulate traditional sports in order to build a different kind of e-sports competition. That includes having city-based teams, as well as offering players contracts with guaranteed salaries, health benefits, and retirement plans. “We’re pulling the best from the worlds of e-sports and traditional sports, so that these owners can learn from each other,” Pete Vlastelica, president and CEO of Major League Gaming, told The Verge back in August.
There are still plenty of questions about the league, including where teams will play and what the rosters will look like. But expect to hear more about that in the coming weeks. The Overwatch League will kick off its pre-season in Los Angeles this December at Blizzard’s new dedicated e-sports arena, before making its debut in January.