Our Overwatch League guide contains team details, start dates, schedule information, match formats, prize money and everything else you need to know!
While last year's BlizzCon gathering was dominated largely by talk of Sombra and the then-new Arcade Mode for Overwatch, we also got our first glimpse at how Blizzard intended to handle Overwatch's eSports scene in the years ahead. To help you understand how exactly this new competitive system works, we've put together an Overwatch League guide which should answer any questions that you have.
We're incredibly excited about the future of this programme for Overwatch, and so you can rest assured that we'll be covering this scene in-depth once the roll-out has begun, with streams, analysis and results-tracking for matches as and when they happen. We'll have more on how we'll handle all that for you once the finer details have been revealed by Blizzard.
Got any questions? Let us know in the comments and we'll do our best to answer them, although we think this guide should provide you with all of the currently known information. If we've missed anything, do drop us a note and we'll be sure to add it in.
A huge amount of information has been confirmed for the Overwatch League since we last updated this guide. We've taken the opportunity to completely overhaul this article for the first upcoming tournament season, with new details of the start times, rewards and the teams taking part in the first full season of competitive play.
Overwatch League: Season 1 teams
All of the teams for the first season of the Overwatch League have now been confirmed. There are twelve in total, split across two different divisions (Pacific and Atlantic).
Here's who's who in each of the divisions. Click on each team name for an overview of the team roster and coaching staff.
- Dallas Fuel
- Los Angeles Gladiators
- Los Angeles Valiant
- San Francisco Shock
- Seoul Dynasty
- Shanghai Dragons
- Boston Uprising
- Florida Mayhem
- Houston Outlaws
- London Spitfire
- New York Excelsior
- Philadelphia Fusion
Overwatch League: Season 1 schedule
Before the Overwatch League itself gets under way in January 2018, there'll be a series of exhibition matches that will take place in December this year. These matches will take place between December 6th-9th and will be held at the publisher's new Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles.
Season 1 will begin properly in January, and it will consist of four stages of five weeks action per stage. There'll be a 10-day break between competitive bouts to allow teams to prepare for the next stage of the competition.
Here's the schedule for when these staged competitive windows will start and close. As soon as we have actual match details, we'll add them to this section of our Overwatch League guide.
- Stage 1: January 10th - February 10th
- Stage 2: February 21st - March 24th
- Stage 3: April 4th - May 5th
- Stage 4: May 16th - June 16th
The last Saturday during each stage will see two epic title matches take place. The top three teams at that point will enter a seeded playoff for a total of $125,000 in performance bonuses.
At the conclusion of Stage 4, six teams will then move into the post-season phase where they'll compete for the inaugural trophy.
The top two teams from each division will automatically qualify for this stage of the competition. The remaining slots will be filled by the top four teams based on their performance record across the entire season.
Here's the schedule for these final matches. The two teams who survive the playoffs will be entered into the Grand Final for Year 1 of Overwatch League:
- Playoffs: July 11th - July 22nd
- Grand Final: July 26th - July 28th
As for the winners? They'll walk away with a cool one million dollars in bonus money, as well as the trophy.
To wrap up the first year of the highest level competitive play, there will then be something called an All-Star Weekend in August. More details about that side of the League are expected during 2018.
Overwatch League: Format
Throughout the season, each team will play a total of 40 games. 20 of those matches will see them face off against teams in their own division, while the remaining 20 matches will be cross-division in nature.
From these two divisions, teams will be seeded into the postseason matchups and championship playoffs. Expect more details on how exactly this post-season seeding will work in a future update to our guide.
A few extra details about how matches will be played have been released by Blizzard. Here's the lowdown:
- A total of three matches will be take place each day from Wednesday - Saturday each week.
- Every match will consist of a set of four maps.
- The season map pool will be revealed by Blizzard ahead of the start of each season.
Overwatch: League Prize Money and Bonuses
Here's how much bonus cash is available in the first year of Overwatch League. 50% of all money must be awarded to players on top of their agreed salaries.
Stage Title Match
- 1st Place: $100,000
- 2nd Place: $25,000
- Total: $500,000 over four stages
Regular Season placement bonuses
- 1st Place: $300,000
- 2nd Place: $200,000
- 3rd + 4th Place: $150,000
- 5th + 6th Place: $100,000
- 7th + 8th Place: $75,000
- 9th + 10th Place: $50,000
- 11th + 12th Place: $25,000
- Total: $1,300,000
Championship playoffs placement bonuses
- 1st Place: $1,000,000
- 2nd Place: $400,000
- 3rd + 4th Place: $100,000
- 5th + 6th Place: $50,000
- Total: $1,700,000
Overwatch League: Recruitment and Rewards
For the first competitive season, Blizzard hosted an Overwatch combine. If you're not familiar with the term from traditional sports, it's a place where prospective competitors can show off specific skills to a gathering of team managers, scouts and coaches.
Players who already demonstrated their skills at Overwatch were invited to just such an event where they tried out for teams. Progressing through a number of different tests at the event, team managers were able to find the best candidate for rounding out their existing roster.
Try-outs were purely by invitation during this starting phase, and Blizzard sent out requests for top-tier players to express an interest in being considered for a collection of professional Overwatch teams. You can read more details about this selection process over at our news report on the announcement.
Following a player scouting report that compiled top performers, the Overwatch league is opening an official player signing window for Season 1's competition. This signing windowruns from 1st August 2017 to 30th October 2017, and allows officially announced teams to sign players and form their team.
Overwatch League: Rewards
If a player is signed during the combine process, they'll be guaranteed a contract which ensures they receive a minimum salary and a benefits package. The duration of the contract and the exact remuneration figures can be found below.
- Players must be signed to one-year contracts, and these can be extended by an additional year. Contracts will guarantee players at least $50,000 in salary, including health insurance and a retirement savings plan.
- Players must also receive 50% of the team’s performance-based income. This means any winnings from the first season’s $3.5 million prize pool.