The first seven teams we announced as Season 1 participants in the Overwatch League™ are led by a diverse mix of established esports organizations, traditional sports industry leaders, and leaders in technology, all with a shared passion for the growth of professional Overwatch® esports. Boston, Los Angeles, Miami-Orlando, New York City, San Francisco, Seoul, and Shanghai are among the first confirmed major cities that will provide the backdrops for the pinnacle of competitive Overwatch play, and we’re working hard to include additional cities around the world as well.
To help Overwatch League team owners assemble the perfect rosters to represent their cities, we evaluated the world’s top Overwatch players to compile a stats-based scouting report. This will help team owners discover and measure potential pro players, from the supremely skilled but unknown leaderboard standouts to the proven esports veterans with personal accolades and championships on their resumes.
Now that we have eager teams ready to start building would-be championship rosters, it’s time to clarify just how that will happen leading into the first season of the Overwatch League. To start, all 30 million+ Overwatch players (that are of majority age and otherwise eligible to play) are considered potential free agents with respect to the Overwatch League. Players associated with established Overwatch teams—even teams from organizations that have been announced as part of the Overwatch League—are not automatically signed to those rosters. By the same token, the Overwatch League does not preclude eligible players from joining any League team because of a previous team affiliation, as long as they are legally able to join. Players will be considered members of an Overwatch League team only when they sign the Overwatch League Player Agreement with the team of their choice and it is approved by the Overwatch League.
In preparation for the start of the Overwatch League, we are opening an official player signing window for Season 1 from August 1 to October 30, 2017. All announced Overwatch League teams will be able to sign players to contracts during this time, including teams that join the League during the signing window. It’s important to note that this system for selecting players will be unique to the League’s first season. In future seasons, the pre-season player signing process will be updated to serve the needs of an established league, its teams, players, and fans.
To offer a better understanding of what players can expect from a career in the Overwatch League, here are a few key benefits included in the Overwatch League Player Agreement:
- Teams will sign players to one-year guaranteed contracts with the option to extend the contract for an additional year.
- The minimum salary for players is USD $50,000 per year.
- Teams will provide players with health insurance and a retirement savings plan.
- Teams will distribute at least 50% of their team performance bonuses (i.e. money from winning playoffs and other League events) to their players directly.
The total bonuses available for Overwatch League teams in Season 1 will amount to USD $3.5 million, with a minimum USD $1 million awarded to the Season 1 champion.
Finally, we know there have been questions about roster requirements and team management, including region locking and housing. Here are a few important rules that will be in effect for Overwatch League Season 1:
- Each team roster must have at least six players and no more than 12 total.
- There is no region locking in terms of the place of birth or home country of any player.
- Teams will provide player housing and practice facilities during the season which will meet professional standards set by the Overwatch League.
The Overwatch League is set to launch later this year, and your support and excitement have been humbling and inspiring for all of us at the League Office. We look forward to sharing more information around the League’s format and timeline, as well as keeping you up-to-date with new team announcements. Keep an eye on the Overwatch League’s Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram feeds, and find all our official news here at overwatchleague.com.