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Blizzard announces Overwatch Contenders open esports league, teams can register starting today

Ahead of its long-anticipated Overwatch League, Blizzard has announced Overwatch Contenders, a development league for aspiring professional Overwatch players.

Overwatch Contenders will start this summer in North America and Europe, and is positioned as the Western counterpart to South Korea’s Overwatch APEX, China’s Overwatch Premier Series, and Asia-Pacific’s Overwatch Pacific Championship. Sign-ups and more information can be found at the Overwatch Contenders website.

The league will start with Season Zero, with open signups for an online qualifier. The NA and EU tournaments will each have a $50,000 prize pool and determine the top eight teams.

The top six teams in North America will join APEX participants Envy and Rogue in Overwatch Contenders Season One. This league features a round-robin competition that runs for six weeks and has a prize pool of $100,000. Europe will also have its own six-week long Season One tournament. From there, the top four teams for each region will advance to their own offline playoff bracket, where they will compete for a share of the $100,000 prize pool.

According to Blizzard, the competition will also serve as a way for organizations looking to fill out Overwatch League rosters to scout the latest talent.  

Following the launch of Overwatch Contenders, Blizzard will also host the Overwatch Open Division. This tournament series will take place in “select regions around the world.” The league will start offering emerging teams a path into Overwatch Contenders seasons in 2018. Open Division signups will be open to players at Masters ranks or higher. Blizzard will release more information at a later date.

The Season Zero schedule is as follows:

  • May 22: NA & EU team registration opens
  • June 2: NA team registration closes
  • June 3-4: NA Open Qualifier
  • June 9: EU team registration closes
  • June 10-11: EU Open Qualifier
  • June 17: EU Group Stage
  • June 18: NA Group Stage
  • June 24: EU Group Stage
  • June 25: NA Group Stage
  • July 1: EU Playoffs (Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Finals)
  • July 2: NA Playoffs (Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Finals)

In related news, Blizzard recently revealed the dates for its Overwatch Anniversary event. The developer also announced an Overwatch: Game of the Year Edition, a version of the game which also includes digital rewards for various Blizzard games.