Blizzard’s play to turn Overwatch into a major esport and redefine the structure of competitive multiplayer kicks off today with the inaugural season of the Overwatch League. While there have been a few pre-season games between the twelve franchises dotted across the globe, with each team being based in a home city to try and foster local support in a manner not to dissimilar from real world sports, it’s only now that the teams will meet and compete in earnest.
Today’s matches will see the Pacific Division play, with San Francisco Shock vs. Los Angeles Valiant, Shanghai Dragons vs. Los Angeles Gladiators, and Dallas Fuel vs. Seoul Dynasty. The Atlantic Division will then play on Thursday.
The full season runs until June, after which playoff matches and a final winner will be determined in July at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles, which has been specially renovated for Blizzard’s esports events.
The full team roster is as follows, with each owner in brackets:
- Boston Uprising (Kraft Group)
- Dallas Fuel (Team Envy)
- Florida Mayhem (Misfits)
- Houston Outlaws (OpTic Gaming)
- London Spitfire (Cloud9)
- Los Angeles Gladiators (Stan and Josh Kroenke)
- Los Angeles Valiant (Immortals)
- New York Excelsior (Jeff Wilpon and SterlingVC)
- Philadelphia Fusion (Comcast Spectacor)
- San Francisco Shock (NRG eSports)
- Seoul Dynasty (Kevin Chou)
- Shanghai Dragons (NetEase)
If you fancy tuning in to watch, you can do so on Twitch, at OverwatchLeague.com, MLG.com or using the MLG or Overwatch League apps. Twitch have secured the exclusive streaming rights (outside of China) for the first two years, with streams in English, Korean and French.
Source: press releases