Blizzard, the developer of Overwatch, has announced the last three locations for initial Overwatch League franchises and also revealed the start date of its league.
Although still later than initially planned (quarter three of 2017), preseason fixtures will get underway on Wednesday December 6th 2017, with the official season starting on Wednesday January 10, 2018.
Additionally, the developer has revealed that Philadelphia, Dallas and Houston are the final three destinations for the inaugural season of the Overwatch League. The Philadelphia franchise will be owned by sports and entertainment company Comcast Spectator, which manages stadiums, arenas and venues across the world and also owns the Philadelphia Flyers, a professional hockey team.
The two Texas franchises will be heading to two more familiar faces. Team EnVyUs, following news of large investment and a relocation to Dallas will indeed be taking the spot in Dallas. EnVyUs are a team that have been in Overwatch for a long time and have kept faith. Their current roster is considered up there with the best so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them enter the inaugural season with very few changes.
The other franchise in Texas will be Houston. The Houston franchise will be taken up by esports juggernaut OpTic Gaming, a team very well versed and highly regarded in FPS titles already. The fan base, dubbed the “green wall” are amongst the most raucous in esports so this is a move that will most definitely generate interest.
There’s still a vast amount of questions from many about the Overwatch League. The first season, from what the release states, will all be played in Los Angeles at the newly unveiled Blizzard Arena. This goes against the initial understanding that each franchise would need its own venue and be required to build a local fan base.
Furthermore, there’s only three franchises outside of North America. With London, Seoul and Shanghai housing the three, many are left wondering how the franchise system will truly effect the franchises east of the United States. It’s likely that Blizzard must have come up with something, but as has always been the case with the Overwatch League, details somehow still remain sparse.
Esports Insider says: The cynics are still there for the OWL but hey, a start date and 12 confirmed teams is progress. It’s safe to say a few months ago many didn’t even think it was going to happen. Let’s see how it goes.