Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch League On Track to Revolutionize eSports

Here’s everything you want to know about Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch League – what it is and how it began, what the format of this esports league is, how the first season launched this week, what are the prizes and more

Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch League On Track to Revolutionize eSports

The inaugural season of the Overwatch League officially kicked off on Wednesday and is scheduled to last until June 16 this year.

For those of you not familiar with this so-called revolutionary version of esports league, let’s first try to answer some basic questions as we go along.

What is Overwatch League?

Blizzard Entertainment, the developers of the video game Overwatch, announced the Overwatch League at BlizzCon 2016 with claims of revolutionizing professional esports.

The league is based more on the way traditional sports are modeled in North America, rather than how other esports leagues operate using the “promotion and relegation” method, which basically means that teams can be promoted or demoted to other divisions based on the previous season’s performance.

What is the League Format?

Overwatch League will follow the tried and trusted format of the country’s conventional sports circuit, where they adhere to a regular season-play with a permanent set of teams that are owned and backed by individual team franchises.

Each franchise guarantees its players a pre-agreed annual salary, perks, and a portion of winnings and performance-based revenue-sharing.

What are the names of the Overwatch League franchises?

Within a year of the November 2016 launch, twelve franchises – one each from Boston, Dallas, Florida, Houston, London (UK), New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seoul (S. Korea), Shanghai (China) and two from Los Angeles – were announced featuring hundreds of players from around the world.

Here’s the list of the 12 franchises competing for the inaugural season’s pool prizes.

  • Boston Uprising – owned by Robert and Jonathan Kraft of the Kraft Group
  • Dallas Fuel – owned by Team Envy
  • Florida Mayhem – owned by Misfits
  • Houston Outlaws – owned by OpTic Gaming
  • London Spitfire – owned by Cloud9
  • Los Angeles Gladiators – owned by father-son pair of Stan and Josh Kroenke
  • Los Angeles Valiant – owned by Immortals
  • New York Excelsior – owned by Sterling VC
  • Philadelphia Fusion – owned by Comcast Spectator
  • San Francisco Shock – owned by NRG esports
  • Seoul Dynasty – owned by NRG esports
  • Shanghai Dragons – owned by NetEase

How is the current season structured? 

The current season, which commenced on Wednesday (Jan. 10), will be played over four stages of five weeks each with a break of two weeks between stages, the last closing on June 16.

The end of the regular season will be followed by a post-season play starting July 11 and ending on July 18, after which an all-star weekend has been scheduled for Aug.10 to Aug. 12.

The twelve teams have been split into two divisions of six teams each, with Boston Uprising, Florida Mayhem, Houston Outlaws, London Spitfire, New York Excelsior and Philadelphia Fusion finding themselves in the Atlantic Division, while Dallas Fuel, Los Angeles Gladiators, Los Angeles Valiant, San Francisco Shock, Seoul Dynasty and Shanghai Dragons have been allocated to the Pacific Division.

What are the prizes on offer for the teams?

At the end of each stage, a prize pool of $125,000 will be awarded to the winners of that stage, while the Overwatch League champion will receive $1,000,000 at the end of the season, making up an aggregate prize pool of 3.5 million.

Where is the tournament being held? 

All the Overwatch League matches will be played at Blizzard’s new state-of-the-art facility in Burbank, California, featuring multiple sound stages for live as well as broadcast audiences, merchandise stores, guest lounges and a seating capacity of 450 at the theater-like arena.

The company describes the Blizzard Arena as a “cutting-edge live-event destination for pro players, esports fans, and everyone else who loves premier competition.”

Here are some pics of this amazing esports facility.

Blizzard Arena Stage
Blizzard Arena Stage

 

Blizzard Arena Control Room
Blizzard Arena Control Room

 

 Blizzard Arena Merchandise Store
Blizzard Arena Merchandise Store

What are the ticket prices and where can I get them?

Half-day weekday events starting at 4 p.m. are priced at $20 each.

Full-day weekend events starting at 11 p.m. are priced at $30 each.

Access the link below to purchase your ticket.

https://www.universe.com/users/overwatch-league-G8TCM4

How do I track the season’s progress?

You can track season progress by accessing the league’s website
below

https://overwatchleague.com

Or by downloading the iOS version of Overwatch League app from here

https://itunes.apple.com/in/app/overwatch-league/id1244902791?mt=8&l=en&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

And the Android version from here

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.blizzard.owl&hl=en

Here, https://overwatchleague.com you can watch live-streamed matches and even past matches archived under the site’s Videos tab Speaking to Game Spot ahead of the League’s Wednesday kick-off Blizzard Entertainment’s Vice President Jeff Kaplan said:

“With everything that we’ve done with Overwatch from the game itself to the league, there’s always been a desire to be as inclusive with as many people as possible. We try to make things approachable both in the game and in the league structure so that somebody who’s not necessarily familiar with Overwatch or Overwatch League immediately feels welcome. That’s always the goal. It’s kind of a Blizzard goal with all of the things that we do is to speak to as many people as possible,” said Kaplan.

“The Blizzard approach is not to make everything casual. The Blizzard approach is to find what we think is amazing as hardcore fans ourselves or hardcore players in games and then how do you bring that to as many people as possible and not be off-putting like some hardcore content and features can sometimes be,” he added.

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