Stan Kroenke

What do owners of the Patriots, Rams, Grizzlies and Flyers have in common? A big bet on eSports.

What do owners of the Patriots, Rams, Grizzlies and Flyers have in common? A big bet on eSports.

The Overwatch League christened its inaugural season this month in largely the same ways as any professional sports league's opening day. The very best players in the world donned uniforms representing their teams. Fans packed an arena, purchasing licensed merchandise in addition to concessions. And announcers broadcast the action for hundreds of thousands more watching at home.

The setting was consistent with a big league pro football, basketball, baseball, soccer or hockey event, but the competition here was a team-based video game, and the new league is the latest development bringing competitive gaming, familiarly known as eSports, closer to the mainstream.

The audience...

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