During the opening ceremony at Blizzcon, Blizzard announced its esports plans for its latest game, Overwatch, in the form of The Overwatch League. This finally put to bed rumours of what the game’s professional landscape will be, as they’re set to emulate Riot’s LCS format.
The announcement featured two videos; one explaining the tournament format and the other being a more cinematic advertisement of the league.
Kicking off in 2017, the Overwatch League won’t be in quite the same vein as Riot’s LCS. Gone are the traditional organisations that esports leagues usually feature. This time, Blizzard are focusing on cities for their teams, á la traditional sports. The league will emulate the NFL, starting with a ‘combine’ for the best players in the ladder. This is where they’ll show off to the scouts of these teams for a chance to become a professional player in the league.
A point to consider is how this will affect the current Overwatch professional teams. With no formal announcement of how Blizzard will deal with the current organisations at the top of the game, it can be assumed that these organisations will either need to bid for a spot in the league under a city, or compete in some sort of lower, feeder league.
The league will also be offering salaries and benefits to those in the league. This includes the current buzzword of the time – revenue sharing. Those players picked at the ‘Combine’ will be guaranteed a minimum level of salary and benefits to make sure that the stability is there to avoid this idea of risk-taking around choosing to go pro or going through a ‘normal’ career.
More information is available on the Overwatch League’s website.
Esports Insider says: This is a good idea that Blizzard has brought back for its Overwatch League. It also brings back a sentiment of the CGS, where teams were based in cities. However making sure it’s only based on one team and done right, it could be a winning formula for Blizzard when the league opens in 2017.