Oxygen Esports and Boston Uprising LLC officially announced Wednesday that the organizations will join forces to create the 12th team in the Call of Duty League.
The announcement followed reports Tuesday that The Kraft Sports Group, which owns the Uprising franchise in the Overwatch League, would partner with New England-based Oxygen Esports to acquire a franchise spot for the 2022 Call of Duty season.
Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots and the New England Revolution, is the founder of the Kraft Sports Group.
“The Kraft family could not be more excited to broaden their exposure to esports,” said Kraft family spokesperson Stacey James. “By combining the Boston Uprising with Oxygen Esports, and the announcement of a Boston Call of Duty League franchise, New England will be a powerful player in competitive gaming.
“With Oxygen functioning as the operator and their multitude of new titles and leagues, they are shaping the future of esports for all New England gaming fans.”
The 12th and final spot in the Call of Duty League became available when OpTic Gaming and Team Envy merged in November, resulting in the creation of OpTic Texas. At the time, the Team Envy-owned Dallas Empire was dissolved.
OXG also announced the launching of a $20 million capital raise that will be led by Banner Ventures. It will also include current and former professional sports figures with ties to the area such as former Celtics player and general manager Danny Ainge and former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
“This is an exciting team to be a part of,” said Gronkowski, who will be joined by his brothers in the venture. “Oxygen Esports is developing infrastructure and building a sense of community for gamers of all ages in the New England area while providing an opportunity for the most elite to showcase their talents at the professional level.”
OXG will establish its headquarters and operations at the Uprising’s current training site at Patriot Place in Foxborough, Mass., adjacent to Gillette Stadium.
“I’m excited to welcome our newest team, Boston, to our 2022 season line-up,” said Brandon Snow, head of Activision Blizzard Esports. “Oxygen Esports and Kraft Sports and Entertainment represent some of the very best organizations in all of esports, sports and entertainment.
“Boston is no stranger to championship titles, and we fully expect them to build a winner in Boston as we open our third season in Call of Duty League.”
–Field Level Media