In an announcement intended to generate excitement surrounding Overwatch esports, Blizzard has revealed a “development league” starting this summer.
The new league, called Overwatch Contenders, will act as “the development league for aspiring Overwatch League professionals” and will strive to find the best teams on the North American and European servers. Contenders also aims to bring the competition seen in Asia-only events such as Overwatch APEX in South Korea and the Overwatch Premier Series in China to Western servers. Registration for North American and European teams began yesterday. Season Zero of the league will be an open signup, online-only qualifier in which the top eight teams from both regions will be found. The prize pool for both tournaments will be USD $50,000.
After this initial period, North America will see its top six teams joined by Envy and Rogue, teams that competed in APEX, for six weeks of competition in Overwatch Contenders Season One. The top four teams will then compete for USD $100,000 in an offline playoff bracket.
In Europe, the top eight teams from Season Zero will play for six weeks like the North American teams. There will be a four-team offline playoff bracket as well, also worth USD $100,000.
If your own team isn't able to break into Overwatch Contenders this time, don't despair: you will be able to play for entry into the league through the Overwatch Open Division tournament series. The series will offer teams in select regions the chance to play their way into each Contenders season.
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