Blizzard announces Overwatch League, a melding of eSports and traditional sports leagues

‘We’re all pros now’

Blizzard has created a new competitive league for Overwatch, and its primary goal is ambitious. It wants to be the premier eSports league. It hopes to accomplish that by putting a twist on the normal eSports formula.

Following the lead of traditional sports leagues like the NFL or the NBA, each team in the Overwatch League will represent a major city across the globe. The idea seems to be that geography will help some people become invested in a team, whereas that might be a major disconnect with eSports as they exist today.

The competitor base will be made up of a deep talent pool of Overwatch players. A combine will be held in 2017 in which owners will target the best players. They’ll then maneuver to sign whomever they want. There doesn’t appear to be a draft system in place that would theoretically distribute top talent equally.

Blizzard says that stability is another key component to the long-term viability of the Overwatch League. Once owners successfully bid on a team and are assigned a city, those teams have a guaranteed place in the league. Along those same lines, all players are given a contract with a baseline minimum compensation and benefits.

The format of the seasons is that there will be a regular season where teams compete against one another. It seems as if regular season matches will be streamed live. When it comes time for the playoffs, teams go head to head in front of a live audience.

It’s an interesting prospect to say the least. Blizzard seems to want to reinforce that anyone can become an Overwatch superstar, that the heroes of tomorrow are out there just waiting to be discovered. Maybe that’s true, but it’ll still require a hell of a lot of dedication to get to that point.

While it’s obviously very early, the Overwatch League at least sounds like a good concept in theory. This has the potential to capitalize on the ever-increasing potential of eSports while also adopting some of the strengths of traditional sports leagues. It helps that Overwatch is an incredibly watchable game. Blizzard just might have another hit on its hands.

Overwatch League [Overwatch League]

Brett Makedonski
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