After a successful start to its inaugural season last month, Activision Blizzard Inc.'s (ATVI) Overwatch League is back this week with "Stage 2." The season kicked off on Jan. 10 to abundant praise from e-sports fans on social media and rising Activision share prices. Investors will be watching this week to see if the second round of matches continues to gain momentum.
During the first of five weeks of "Stage 1," the Overwatch League reached more than 10 million unique viewers across the world, the company announced at the end of last quarter. The league consists of 12 teams playing the Activision game "Overwatch" that are competing not only for the champion title, but a total of $3.5 million in prize money and performance bonuses over the course of the season as well.
In his earnings recap last quarter, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc. analyst Evan Wingren maintained an overweight rating on Activision stock, recommending buying stock in part due to the potential of Overwatch League. Wingren wrote that the league is an opportunity for Activision to capitalize on the growing e-sports industry.
"More marketing and interest driven by the league could fuel further growth for Overwatch and extend the tail of monetization for the game," Wingren wrote.
It will be interesting to see how "Stage 2," which started Wednesday evening and will last through Feb. 24, impacts Activision stock. Over the past five days, the stock has dropped 3.64%. Activision shares dipped 1% on Thursday, closing at $69.49.
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