Kroenke Sports & Entertainment has secured a spot in Activision-Blizzard's upcoming Call of Duty Franchise League. Due to Immortals Gaming Club also owning a CoD franchise, the rivalry established between the Los Angeles Valiant and Los Angeles Gladiators in the Overwatch League will have a chance to expand into an entirely different esport.
Kroenke Sports & Entertainment made its initial venture into esports at the start of Overwatch League with franchise LA Gladiators. Through a subsidiary titled KSE Esports, esports organization Sentinels has managed the franchise on behalf of Kroenke since OWL's inception. Gladiators was established as one of two major esports brands in LA, with Immortals Gaming Club's Los Angeles Valiant bein the city's other Overwatch League representative.
Kroenke Sports & Entertainment was the proposed buyer to Echo Fox's forced sale of its LCS franchise due to an inability for the organization to comply with the requests of the league. Originally reported by ESPN Esports' Jacob Wolf, the information turned out to be true, but the deal fell through when Sentinels CEO Rob Moore filed a lawsuit against Kroenke, stating that the deal violated an agreement between himself and a Kroenke executive.
A settlement has since been reached between the two parties, and evidently, forward progress has been made in the acquisition of the slot in the Call of Duty Franchise League.
This means that the 'Battle for LA' rivalry that has made some of the most memorable nights in the pasts two years of Overwatch League games at Blizzard Arena could be extending to an entirely new competitive scene.
Kroenke Sports & Entertainment seems all-in on KSE Esports. Between an Overwatch League franchise, a Call of Duty franchise, and an attempted League of Legends franchise, Kroenke looks to be in esports for the long haul. Immortals Gaming Club, who recently acquired OpTic Gaming and with it, an LCS team, a second OWL team, and an elite Call of Duty team to go along with Los Angeles Valiant and its Brazilian CS:GO team MIBR, looks every bit ready to match that longevity.
While the performance of the players, the developing culture between both fanbases, and the success of esports as a whole are required for a traditional rivalry to develop in North American esports, a long-term commitment from owners will be required to sustain that rivalry. Fortunately for Los Angeles esports fans, both local organizations seem to be on that page.