Blizzard’s Overwatch League Will Start Next Year

Blizzard is capitalizing on the huge success of Overwatch [official site] by launching a new eSports league. The Overwatch League aims to give every Overwatch player a chance to rise in the rankings and have a chance to join a pro team while avoiding some of the pitfalls that have plagued other eSports leagues in recent years.

The Overwatch League looks to be highly regimented, which is a positive aspect for both players and team owners. Each team will represent a city with plans to expand from North America into Central and South America, Europe, China, South Korea, and the Oceania regions as time goes on. Players will have the advantage of being protected by contracts, and admission into the league and a chance to be signed by a team seems to depend on skill rather than favoritism and glitz and glamor.

Though a definite date hasn’t been given for the start of the Overwatch League preseason, the following roadmap for the league showcases the events Blizzard plans on in the near future:

The Preseason
Proven stars and leaderboard heroes will assemble in one global talent pool. Teams then maneuver to sign the best players and build sturdy rosters for the season ahead.

The Inaugural Season
League action streams live every week, including a standalone primetime matchup between top teams. Game highlights and other features fill in the gaps between game days.

The Championship Run
During epic live events, the very best Overwatch teams compete to become legends as the first-ever Overwatch League world champions.

Into the Future
League expansion in every direction will make the Overwatch League truly global; finishing with an elite tournament where champions battle champions for undisputed supremacy.


  1. Pich says:

    Neat, i hope that the matches will be hosted on different sites other than Twitch, cos that site is basically Buffering Simulator for me.

    • zetruz says:

      You dont happen to have an antivirus plugin for your browser? Could try turning that off. Switched my cpu usage from >90% to <10% with html5 activated.
      If it's network-based buffering, then that's just odd. The bitrate isn't exactly high. (Which is why I share your hope that they don't go the Twitch route, btw. Will probably use Blizzard Streaming, instead.)

      • Samfisher says:

        Lots of ISPs don’t have good routing to Twitch servers, and Twitch has abysmal international bandwidth on top of that. Unfortunately, that’s where the market watches games tho.

  2. Eikenberry says:

    What does this do that every other e-sports doesn’t? I watched the trailer – it had all the EDM, blue techno lights, glowing keyboards, and “unce unce unce” throbbing excitement of every other promotional material for every other e-sports league.

    people who do well will play 20 hours a day 7 days a week. The rest of us with regular jobs can’t possibly compete. So… e-sports yay.

  3. LearningToSmile says:

    I dunno, it all just seems to me like one enormous “fuck you” to all the organizations, teams, and players in the current Overwatch pro scene.

    I get that they probably feel current competitive Overwatch doesn’t have the momentum they want it to have, but still alienating the core group of people who were already invested in it seems like a dick move. Particularly now that some questionable decisions on Blizzards part(like not advertising any of the big tournaments in the client) feel like they were intentionally made to stifle the competition until Blizzard’s monopoly is ready to take off. I’m just waiting for all the spectating and replay stuff people were asking for since before the launch to coincidentally be finished just in time for Blizzard’s league.

    It might turn out be successful, but I’m not sure that’s a good thing. The developer having complete monopoly over the pro scene is just something that I find hard to take as a good thing. Especially with how questionable a LOT of the design decisions behind the entire league setup seem to be.

    Well, here’s hoping I’m wrong.

    • Smoof says:

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but Valve control the competitive scene for DOTA2, right?

      • wengart says:


        Valve is the gatekeeper (although they keep the gate rather loose) for selling tickets in the client. A tournament doesn’t need to sell tickets in the client, but that allows them to crowdfund the prize pool.

        Valve also runs the tournaments with the biggest prize pools. The International had a prize pool of 20+ million dollars this last summer. They get to choose the rules for that tournament. So how open qualifiers work, who gets direct invites, when teams need to have their lineups finalized etc…

        Valve doesn’t really run any strict control over teams like Blizzard or League does. But Valve does have weight because they run the big money tournaments.

  4. Jane Doe says:

    Cracks me up how they keep advertising the game with Tracer. She’s on almost every cover, badge and coffee mug, but 95% you meet her in the game its a win for the opposing team.

    If they want Overwatch to be perceived as a fast paced warping arround poke shooter, they should use Genji at least.