Overwatch League officially kicks off this week, on January 10, more than a year after it was initially announced. This is everything you need to know before the first match begins at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles.
The regular season will run from January 10 to June 16, 2018, and will be divided into four stages. Postseason matches will start on June 17. The playoffs will begin on July 11, 2018, while the Grand Finals are scheduled for July 26-28.
In its inaugural season, Overwatch League will feature 12 teams. Nine of them come from the United States and the remaining three hail from the United Kingdom, China and South Korea. Each of the teams has reportedly paid a $20 million fee for a franchise spot in the league.
Every team represents a city - Boston, Dallas, Florida, Houston, London, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, with two teams from Los Angeles. All matches during the first season of the league will be played in Los Angeles, but future editions would feature home and away games, which will be hosted in the teams' respective cities.
The teams are split into two divisions, Atlantic and Pacific. The Atlantic Division consists of the Boston Uprising, the Florida Mayhem, the Houston Outlaws, the London Spitfire, the New York Excelsior, and the Philadelphia Fusion. The Pacific Division comprises the Dallas Fuel, the Los Angeles Gladiators, the Los Angeles Valiant, the San Francisco Shock, the Seoul Dynasty, and the Shanghai Dragons.
The prize pool
The Overwatch League total prize pool is $3.5 million. The prize pool for each stage is $125,000 - $100,000 for the first team and $25,000 for the second. Teams also get bonuses after the regular season, which run from $300,000 for the team that finishes first, to $25,000 for those on the 11th and 12th positions. After the playoffs, the Overwatch League champions will get $1 million, while the runners-up will receive $400,000.
All regular-season matches of the inaugural Overwatch League will take place at the recently renovated Blizzard Arena Los Angeles, located in Burbank, California. The venue has a capacity for 450 viewers plus multiple spectator boxes for special guests. The facility also has practice areas, where teams can warm up before matches, as well as player lounges and offices.
During the regular season, matches will be played every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at varying times to make sure that fans in different time zones will be able to watch. Matches will be broadcast at the Overwatch League website. Every game of the league will also be streamed on Twitch.