Blizzard announces their Overwatch League where each team will represent a city, team owners may bid for their team to represent a city, which could potentially cost owners a lot of money for a permanent league spot. Team owners must have clear contracts with all players.
Blizzard will hold an open tournament called a Combine for the best players to prove themselves and be scouted and recruited by city teams. The open Combine tournament will ensure a very active community and viewership base as many will watch intently to learn from top players.
The 2017 regular season will be played remotely online but Playoffs and Finals will be offline LANs at a live audience venue. Nate Nanzer Blizzard’s global Esports director says “We hope that by having these local teams that in a few years every team has home games. There’s millions of kids around the world that would love to go to an esports tournament and buy merch, but can’t because of travel costs. These localized teams will unlock lots of local revenue,” There will be an offseason that Nanzer says teams can use to rest or play in 3rd party tournaments. The Overwatch League website will be the comprehensive guide for players, teams, and tournaments.
Blizzard will create a new kind of fan with their mandatory city based teams… local fans. Most likely major city sports teams that are savvy to Esports will out bid independent teams to obtain a spot but not every major metropolitan city has an Esports savvy sports team owner or leader and this could be the perfect opportunity for new organizations in major cities to invest long term in a financially sustainable team. It’s unlikely but hey we all root for the underdog and it would make for a great story.
But a few questions ring out in the subreddits…
Once a team owner obtains a league slot will it be easier for that team to obtain a league spot for other Blizzard games when they adopt the structure of their Overwatch League to Heroes of the Storm, Starcraft, Warcraft, Hearthstone, and any other future titles?
Will Blizzard give a percentage of Broadcast rights and sponsorships to teams in the league?
Will the home matches, that Nanzer says will happen in the next few years, have each team playing in their respected hometown, playing each other remotely or will teams travel for each match? If they do it remotely, it would be nice that every game would be a home game.
What do you guys think?