The Overwatch League Drafting Period Begins Next Week
Announced last year, the Overwatch League recently conducted a scouting report surveying top players and teams to see who would make up its teams, then announced the first seven city-based teams which would make up the League's roster. Today, the company clarified how the entire league will work, as well as announcing signups for the league begin August 1.
According to the post, anyone who plays Overwatch and is of legal age and eligibility can join one of these professional teams. Players who have already signed up with major esports teams are not automatically signed to the league, but aren't prevented from being part of both an esports organization and a city-based team. "Players will be considered members of an Overwatch League team only when they sign the Overwatch League Player Agreement with the team of their choice and it is approved by the Overwatch League," the company said.
When signups for the league begin next week, the teams can start drafting any eligible players they choose until October 30. "It’s important to note that this system for selecting players will be unique to the League’s first season," the company said. "In future seasons, the pre-season player signing process will be updated to serve the needs of an established league, its teams, players, and fans."
Blizzard was also forthcoming about the requirements for teams who want to sign players. Contracts with players will last for one year, with a minimum salary of $50,000 a year that will include health insurance, retirement plans, housing during the season, and half of a team's performance bonuses. These bonuses amount to a total $3.5 million, with $1 million going to first place. Teams must have between six and twelve players, and teams are not limited by location when drafting players.
Blizzard being up front about how players will be taken care of is good to see. Making the basic salary and contract information public will hopefully prevent players from being exploited by teams. In other competitive scenes, players aren't paid for months or years, if at all. Hopefully the teams Blizzard has selected will uphold their end of the bargain and treat players well.