The Overwatch League has begun its full assault into the esports world with their announcements today. First 3 teams have been finalized for the Inaugural Season One which will take place in Los Angeles. Now the start dates have been announced. It looks like Blizzard will host the season from January 10th all the way through June with a summer playoffs and finals coming in July. This solid six month season gives the opportunity for many games and matches between the initial twelve teams. Here is our speculation on how the season might break down.
Here is the press release outlining all the information on the Overwatch League update. With three teams added in for Dallas, Houston, and Philadelphia it is great to see that preseason will begin at the end of the year. December 6th begins the matches in Los Angeles. Read below as we continue to bring you as much coverage as we can on all these announcements.
September 20, 2017—The stage is now set for the inaugural season of the Overwatch League™. Teams for Dallas, Houston, and Philadelphia have signed on, bringing the total for the first season to the targeted 12 franchises representing major cities in Asia, Europe, and North America. The new team owners announced today are:
Comcast Spectacor (Philadelphia), leader in sports and entertainment and owner of the Philadelphia Flyers
Team Envy (Dallas), veteran esports organization with experience across multiple genres
OpTic Gaming (Houston), established esports organization known for its passionate global fan base
Is Disney primed to be a major player in the Overwatch League? Our guess is absolutely! Disney XD is a channel geared to a younger hardcore audience. This weekend they began broadcasting reruns of the Overwatch World Cup series with their first episode of Shanghai. So we’re going to build out a landscape for you in terms of why a Disney and Blizzard partnership makes sense and how we are seeing the early stages of it already. Did we mention Disney owns ESPN?
One of the big questions about Overwatch as an esport has always been how best to view the game. This year, reports show that a Spectator Mode may be released at this year’s BlizzCon. From the start of the World Cup and as more leagues like Contenders and APEX grow quickly, all the viewers will eventually feed into the Overwatch League. The hardcore audience is used to viewing in first person mode, but what about the rest of the world?
Today is September 14th. We have about 7 weeks until BlizzCon. The player signing window closes at the end of October which means teams will have a full week to prepare for getting their announcements ready. Here are our top five predictions on what we think you can expect from the Overwatch League at BlizzCon this year:
Season 1 Schedule
Everyone knows that Season One will be played in L.A. at the newly formed Blizzard Arena. The big question is, no one knows when it will start? Blizzard had said last year that this league would begin in 2017. Now they have to deliver on that expectation. So, how do they do it? Well, many of the chips are in place for Season One to start. Our guess is that the schedule will launch in either December or January of 2018. Think of it from a viewing perspective. The winter months are ideal for watching esports at home. Many people especially in the Northeast are indoors and you’ll have a solid few months to build up fandom. So, the schedule will be announced at BlizzCon and well, it may just start right away.
There are more rumors flying out of ESPN that Chicago or Milwaukee may be on the table for Overwatch League. In a recent report sources say that Milwaukee Bucs owner Wes Edens is in talks to form a team. The question about location is the big thing to look at here. Chicago is considered a top tier city and would likely be the best candidate. However, we may see a team in Milwaukee instead. There is no set guarantee as to where this team will finalize. Blizzard did not comment on the news, but this is looking like the potential thirteenth team on the roster.
In a report out of ESPN, there will now be a Houston Overwatch League spot. This team is being put together by Texas Rangers Neil Leibman and OpTic Gaming. The company has not only applied for a franchise in the Overwatch League but also are looking to buy a spot in the LCS for League of Legends.
This could mark the second of Texas teams that have not officially been added to the roster of teams. We heard reports that Team EnVyUs would be moving into the Dallas spot at some point with a $35 million investment from Ken Hersh.
We got the chance last week to talk to Seoul Coach Baek Kwang-Jin about preparing for the Overwatch League in the coming months. The Lunatic-Hai Manager/Coach is planning for a serious assault on the league with one of the top teams. Here is what he had to say:
Are you excited to bring the team into the Overwatch League? Lunatic Hai has been at the top and now it seems like this league will bring in the best competition in the world.
I am very pleased to work with the back-to-back winners of APEX Season 2 and 3 for the Seoul team in the Overwatch League. Our team will devote time and energy into training to bring the championship back to Korea and earn the value and popularity that traditional professional sports teams are known for.
What has you relationship been like with Kevin Chou in setting up this new franchise?
Kevin Chou provides full support, for instance, the best training equipment and facilities, along with health management, media training, and English language tutoring to the players to positioning the players as professional global athletes. I want to be part of his vision for the team and will endeavor to win the championship in the first season of the Overwatch League.
In yesterday’s High Noon broadcast on Youtube, the team was talking to Matt “coolmatt69” Iorio he mentioned some teams that had been scouting him for Overwatch League. The most important part of this discussion is that teams are still doing tryouts and offers have been made by unannounced teams! Matt plays on the World Cup Team and is featured as one of the top players in the U.S. The World Cup is planned for BlizzCon in November. Most likely we expect to hear major announcements at the show which may feature full teams being revealed. The player signing window continues to remain open for the next several weeks.