Is the world ready for Overwatch League? Can the biggest, most expensive esports event in modern history live up to its hype?
There’s a lot riding on this. While esports has been steadily growing in popularity over the last few years, Overwatch League marks its biggest leap forward yet, with several cash-rich companies investing millions of dollars as they would into a traditional sports event. If the tournament succeeds, it’ll prove the legitimacy of esports to those investors, and we’ll start seeing more events like this.
Twelve teams will represent cities from around the world (their sponsors are in parentheses):
- 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)
There are multiple ways you can watch the first season of Overwatch League, though none involve turning on the TV and going to a specific channel. Twitch has landed exclusive rights to broadcast Overwatch League for its first two seasons, so Season 1 is strictly an online affair with streams broadcast live on Twitch, MLG.com and the MLG app, OverwatchLeague.com, and the Overwatch League companion app. You can work around the TV problem by booting up the Twitch Roku app and watching the game from there.
“The Overwatch League was created to deliver an awesome and unique experience for players, teams, and fans,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “With 12 first-class teams representing major cities from Asia, Europe, and North America, we’re confident that the inaugural season of the league is going to redefine what people expect from esports—and be a giant celebration of the Overwatch community as a whole.”
It begins today — esports history could be made. During Season 1, three matches will air per day every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The very first match, between the San Francisco Shock and the Los Angeles Valiant, starts tonight at 7 PM. Tune into the Overwatch League on Twitch and MLG.com!
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