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What the Future of Overwatch League has in Store for Esports

My interpretation of how the Overwatch League can affect esports as a whole.

With Blizzard's incredibly successful shooter, Overwatch, taking the esports scene by storm -- Overwatch has become the fastest growing esport in history -- along side the massive growth in less than a years time Blizzard announced the Overwatch League.

A broad plan is to create a system that will involve major brand name teams into city or state teams. Similar to normal sports such as Basketball or Football, each city will have an organization that will represent each city. Each team will have ownership and management such as any sports team in the industry. This project is a huge undertaking from Blizzard as it supposedly be available in North America, South America, Europe, China, Korea, and the Asia Pacific region. While this will take time, this is where Blizzard would like to reach out to and create teams in major cities in these regions.

While this is a very brief summary of the concept Blizzard is aiming for, if you want to find out more about the Overwatch League system the video below will explain it all in better detail:

The Overwatch League as a whole is a system created to make professional esports a more accessible career choice for those who are looking to get into the pro side of gaming. With this as an option for making head way into the pro scene, for many people it would make it the most desirable esport on the planet. However, this comes with the ambiguity of the system. If you are looking to make your way into the competitive scene first things first is to make it to the point where you are recognizable by anybody who pays attention to the scene. This may be streaming, playing in third party tournaments, or by being picked up by a big name organization such as Rogue. This puts you out there and gets your name exposure.

What you must also factor into the situation is how many teams will open up across these regions, or at least how many will open in the starting regions. How many teams will be available and for players to join? Factoring both issues of player exposure and team availability it seems as if the system will need some time before it can officially launch. Time spent building teams across the first regions and making sure you have enough player exposure to fill these teams takes times.

TviQ from Team Rogue

But the real question is can this change the way we view esports? Absolutely the Overwatch League can change everything for esports. With the extension of competitive esports teams to cities broadens the exposure of the game, and also provides opportunities for teams to gain more sponsors. Recently more and more big name companies and sports teams have been investing money into esports teams. For example Lionsgate Studios invested heavily into team The Immortals and the Miami Heat invested into Team Misfits -- both of these organizations have Overwatch teams. With the Overwatch League connecting teams to cities surely large conglomerates and other sports teams based out of these cities will invest heavily into their cities team to build the scene, and gain money. This way those businesses and sports teams will gain their own respective exposure.

Team Misfits Overwatch team

While the future is unknown for the Overwatch League all that can be said is that it is going to be enormous, if the system that Blizzard are proposing works incredibly well in an esports scenario. This is especially apparent in bigger esport scenes where you have new potential players popping up across the globe (i.e. League of Legends). If it truly does come to fruition how Blizzard sees fit then the Overwatch League will surely help in getting the best players recognized and then being signed to a team. While the following of esports is already big enough to fill stadiums for championships; the Overwatch League has the potential to bring in more fans from across the world and more exposure to esports as a sport.

Published Jan. 12th 2017

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