The esports scene (and potential sponsors) is eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Overwatch League, Blizzard's official, professional set up for the competitive side of the game. Today it launched Overwatch Contenders, a development league with its own prize pool, for the up and coming Overwatch elite.
"Blizzard is excited to announce Overwatch Contenders—the development league for aspiring Overwatch League professionals, kicking off this summer in North America and Europe," the company says today. "Over the first year of organized Overwatch competition, we’ve seen an incredible exhibition of skill at Overwatch APEX in South Korea, the Overwatch Pacific Championship in the Asia-Pacific region, and the Overwatch Premier Series in China. It’s time to bring that level of competition to the West."
Interested? Step one is to sign up for the online Season Zero, a qualifier to find the top eight teams in North American and European regions. Each of these tournaments will have a prize pool of USD $50,000. Here's the schedule for that first season:
- May 22: NA & EU team registration opens
- June 2: NA team registration closes
- June 3-4: NA Open Qualifier
- June 9: EU team registration closes
- June 10-11: EU Open Qualifier
- June 17: EU Group Stage
- June 18: NA Group Stage
- July 24: EU Group Stage
- July 25: NA Group Stage
- July 1: EU Playoffs (Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Finals)
- July 2: NA Playoffs (Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Finals)
"Of course, there is more than cash on the line," says Blizzard. "With organizations looking to fill their rosters for the launch of the Overwatch League, all eyes will be watching this summer’s competitive showcase."