Here’s some huge esports news coming out of BlizzCon 2016: Blizzard has announced the formation of the “Overwatch League.” The league hopes to replicate the familiar formula that traditional American sports use and bring sustainability to a notoriously tumultuous esports landscape. The NFL or National Football League is probably the best example of what Blizzard is trying to emulate.
At an unspecified date in early 2017, players will be eligible to attend a combine — essentially an organized tryout event. Scouts and/or coaches from established esports organizations will be in attendance at the player combine to evaluate a player’s abilities. Once the combine wraps up, there will be a signing or free-agency period to take place before the inaugural season begins.
One aspect of traditional sports that has been difficult to replicate in esports is team loyalty. Esports fans often note that while they are fans of certain organizations, they ultimately abandon their allegiances for their favorite players.
Blizzard hopes to change that. Each team will be assigned to a major city across multiple regions. It is an unprecedented move for esports and perhaps one that can solve the issue of retaining fan support.
Not a ton has been announced regarding the format of the league, but we can expect live LANs in front of audiences. There will be weekly broadcasts of games and one primetime matchup that will feature the two top teams.
Once league play wraps up, there will eventually be an Overwatch League champion. Details about the postseason are scarce, but we can assume it will culminate in a final championship tournament — perhaps BlizzCon 2017.
Blizzard is striving to make this league highly sustainable. Once teams are introduced to their league, there is no chance of them being expelled. Players will have benefits, salaries, and assurance that their interests are heard.
For a more in-depth breakdown, watch this video from Blizzard:
Stay tuned to Fandom for more news coming out of BlizzCon 2016!