On January 10, the Overwatch League began its inaugural season, bringing professional esports to several major cities around the world and pitting the best players in Blizzard’s popular hero shooter against each other in a multi-stage competition. Unlike the structure of other esports leagues, the Overwatch League’s 12 teams each represent particular regions, giving fans a chance to root for their hometown favorite as they would in traditional sports, and it’s set to be among the most high-profile esports leagues in existence. Here is everything you need to know about Overwatch League.

What is the Overwatch League?

Overwatch League is developer Blizzard Entertainment’s own professional esports competition, pitting 12 teams from 11 cities around the world against each other in a 20-week season that is capped off with playoffs featuring the top six teams and a grand final in July. All matches will be held at the Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles for the first season.

Twelve matches will take place during each week of the season, with each team playing twice from Wednesday through Saturday for 40 matches per team, per season. This is substantially longer than other esports leagues such as the North America League of Legends Championship Series, which only runs for nine weeks per season.

At the conclusion of each five-week stage of the regular season, title matches will take place between the top four teams with a prize pool of $125,000. All players will receive, at minimum, a $50,000 salary during the season, and the top team will take home at least $1 million in prize money. Players will take home at least 50 percent of team bonuses, as well.

These figures are nowhere close to the cost of joining the league, however. According to ESPN, smaller-market teams can join for around $15 million, while those in bigger cities could pay even more.

Each team must have at least six players on its roster in order to compete in an Overwatch match, with no more than 12 allowed in total. Thus far, most team rosters have at least a few substitute players available, though Florida Mayhem only features six. Each player will be signed to a one-year contract with a second-year option.

Though the impact that The Overwatch League will have on competitive Overwatch overall remains to be seen, it could pave the way for more international focus on esports as a whole, where South Korean players dominate the current landscape. According to Cloud9 president Daniel Fiden — behind the London Spitfire — the regional approach will help cultivate top-level players around the world (and specifically beyond Seoul).

How can I watch it?

The Overwatch League has partnered with Twitch to broadcast every single match to fans for the league’s first two seasons. Twitch will be the exclusive third-party broadcaster of The Overwatch League in all countries except China, and streams will be available in English, Korean, and French. Broadcasts will be available for the regular season as well as the playoffs and championship.

Dedicated fans will also have the opportunity to use special Overwatch “cheermotes” within Twitch chat, and exclusive in-game items will be given to “the most steadfast viewers,” as well.

Stay updated on the go

An Overwatch League smartphone app is now available for both iOS and Android devices. The app not only offers information on the latest scores and overall standings for the season, but also access to special videos and new from the league.

If you sign into your Blizzard account in the app, you can also follow your favorite teams and set alerts for whenever they’re about to play so you never miss a game again. The app even allows you to choose which language to watch game streams in, and you can choose to automatically hide scores so you aren’t spoiled on any games you missed.

The teams

The Overwatch League consists of 12 teams across the United States, Europe, and Asia, divided into two divisions: Atlantic and Pacific.

Atlantic Division

Boston Uprising

Head coach: Dae hee “Crusty” Park


Nam-joo KwonStrikerDPS
Stanislav DanilovMistakesDPS
Jonathan SanchezDreamKazperDPS
Lucas MeissnerNotEFlex
Woo-yeol ShinKaliosFlex
Yeong-jin NohGamsuTank
Mikias YohannesSnowSupport
Kristian KellerKellexSupport
Se-hyeon ParkNekoSupport
Connor PrinceAvastSupport

Florida Mayhem

Head coach: Vytis “Mineral” Lasaitis


Kevyn LindströmTviQDPS
Andreas BerghmansLogixDPS
Tim BylundMannetenFlex/DPS
Johan KlingestedtCWoosHTank/Flex
Sebastian OlssonZebbosaiSupport
Aleksi KuntsiZuppehSupport

Houston Outlaws

Head coach: Tae-Yeong “TaiRong” Kim


Matt DiasClockworkDPS
Jiri MasalinLiNkzrDPS
Lucas HåkanssonMendokusaiiDPS
Matt IoriocoolmattFlex
Alexandre VanhomwegenSPREEFlex
Austin WilmotMumaTank
Daniel PenceBoinkSupport
Christopher BenellBaniSupport/Flex
Shane FlahertyRawkusSupport

London Spitfire

Head coach: Beoum-Jun “Bishop” Lee


Ji-hyuk KimbirdringDPS
Dong-jun KimRascalDPS
Joon-yeong ParkProfitDPS
Dong-eun LeeHooregDPS
Jun-ho KimFuryFlex
Seung-hyun SungWOOHYALFlex
Chan-hyung BaekFissureTank
Jae-hee HongGestureTank
Hyeon-woo JoHaGoPeunSupport
Won-sik JungCloserSupport
Choi-tae SeungBdosinSupport
Jong-seok KimNUSSupport

New York Excelsior

Head coach: Hyun Sang “Pavane” Yu


Jong-yeol ParkSaebyeolbeDPS
Do-hyun KimPineDPS
Hye-sung KimLiberoDPS/Flex
Tae-hong KimMekOFlex
Jun-hwa SongJanusTank
Dong-gyu KimManoTank
Sung-hyeon BangJJoNakSupport
Yeon-joon HongArKSupport

Philadelphia Fusion

Head coach: Yann “Kirby” Luu


Jae-hyeok LeeCarpeDPS
Josh CoronoaEqoDPS
George GushchaShaDowBurnDPS
Hong-joon ChoiHOTBAFlex
Gael GouzerchPokoFlex
Joona LaineFragiTank
Isaac CharlesBoomboxSupport
Jeong-hwan ParkDayflySupport
Joe GramanoJoemeisterSupport
Alberto GonzalezneptuNoSupport
Simon EkströmsnilloDPS (inactive – underage)
Su-min KimSADOTank (inactive – suspended)

Pacific Division

Dallas Fuel

Head coach: Kyle “KyKy” Souder


Timo KettunenTaimouDPS/Flex
Hwang HyeonEFFECTDPS/Flex
Brandon LarnedSeagullDPS/Flex
Pongphop RattanasangchodMickieFlex
Christian JonssoncoccoTank
Félix LengyelxQcTank
Sebastian WidlundchipshajenSupport
Jonathan Tejedor RuaHarryhookSupport/DPS
Scott KennedyCustaSupport

Los Angeles Gladiators

Head coach: David “dpei” Pei


Lane RobertsSurefourDPS
Joon-seong ChoiAsherDPS
João Pedro Goes TellesHydrationDPS
Aaron KimBischuFlex
Luis Galarza FigueroaiRemiixTank
Jonas SuovaaraShazSupport
Benjamin IsohanniBigGooseSupport

Los Angeles Valiant

Head coach: Joshua “dzMins” Kim


Christopher SchaeferGrimRealityDPS
Brady GirardiAgilitiesDPS
Terence TarlierSoOnDPS
Ted WangsilkthreadDPS
Kang-jae LeeenvyFlex
Pan-seung KooFateTank
Seb BartonnumlockedTank
Benjamin ChevassonuNKOESupport
Stefano DisalvoVerboSupport
Young-seo ParkKariVSupport
Indy HalpernSPACEFlex (inactive – underage)

San Francisco Shock

Head coach: Brad Rajani


André DahlströmiddqdDPS
Andrej FrancistybabybayDPS
Dante CruzDantehDPS/Flex
Andreas KarlssonNevixFlex/DPS
David RamireznomyTank
Daniel Martínez PazdhaKSupport
Nikola AndrewssleepySupport
Jay WonsinatraaDPS (inactive – underage)
Matthew DeLisisuperFlex (inactive – underage)

Seoul Dynasty

Head coach: Baek Kwang-jin


Byung-sun KimFletaDPS
Sang-beom ByeonMunchkinDPS
Seok-woo ChoiWekeedDPS
Joon-hyuk ChaeBunnyDPS
Gi-do MoonGidoDPS/Flex
Jae-mo KooxepheRFlex
Joon-hyuk KimzunbaFlex
Jin-hyuk GongMiroTank
Dae-kuk KimKuKiTank
Jin-mo YangtobiSupport
Je-hong RyuryujehongSupport/Flex

Shanghai Dragons

Head coach: Chen “U4” Congshan


Weida LuDiyaDPS
Chao FangUndeadDPS
Junjie LiuXushuTank/Flex
Wenhao JingRoshanTank
Dongjian WuMGTank
Yage ChengAlteringSupport
Zhaoyu ChenFivekingSupport
Peixuan XuFreefeelSupport

Uniforms and in-game currency

The uniforms for each team in The Overwatch League are designed with the team’s logo in the center, as well as the league’s logo in the bottom right corner (for those wearing it.) An example can be seen below:

So they can be easily identified during matches, each team will also have special in-game skins for every character available in Overwatch, corresponding to the colors of their real-life uniforms. To aid the spectator experience, in-game user interface and particle effects have also been altered to match team color schemes. These correspond to each of the uniforms worn be teams’ players, and will be available for purchase by everyone using a special, new in-game currency. The proceeds from sales will go to support the corresponding teams, though Blizzard will give enough tokens for every player to purchase one complimentary skin in early 2018 when the league launches.

What about existing Overwatch tournaments?

The Overwatch League is only possible because Blizzard’s premiere shooter already has a globally popular tournament scene, atop which the new league will sit. Anyone who rises sufficiently in the game’s Ranked competitive play mode will be eligible for the Open Division, which will be divided into several tournaments for top-level amateurs who may hold professional aspirations.

The winners of these Open Division tournaments will go on to compete in Overwatch Contenders tournaments in seven regions around the world. In addition to the current Contenders tournaments in North America and Europe, this will include three existing, previously non-Blizzard tournaments in Korea, China, and the Pacific, as well as new regional tournaments in South America and Australia.  Performing well in Contenders tournaments will be the best shot that aspiring pros have of being scouted by Overwatch League teams.

Update: Added information on the Overwatch League app

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