Named Overwatch Open, the $300,000 tournament will feature online battles between European and North American teams with the grand finals airing live on TBS.
The immense success of Overwatch
Released only two months ago, Blizzard’s first person shooter is reaching one milestone after another. The extremely popular game attracted more than 10 million players only one month after its release and is now landing the Overwatch Open.
The endeavor is made possible by a partnership between ELEAGUE and FACEIT.
The former is a collaboration between Turner Broadcasting and the talent agency WME | IMG and the latter is a competitive gaming platform for online multiplayer games. The tournament will have a prize pool of $300,000, an amazing achievement for a relatively new game like Overwatch.
“Overwatch is an exciting new game with thrilling and expertly-balanced action that makes it perfect for competitive play,” said Michelle Attisani, chief business officer of FACEIT. “We are confident that our capabilities as a platform and knowledge as a media partner will make this an exciting tournament for fans.”
Starting July 23, Overwatch Open will feature an online qualifier that will run on FACEIT’s gaming platform. Teams from Europe and North America will fight for a spot in the regional playoffs Aug. 26-28.
After the online battles are over, the top eight teams from each of these playoffs will advance to the finals at the ELEAGUE arena in Atlanta.
Said Craig Barry, executive vice president and chief content officer at Turner Sports:
“This opportunity to feature Blizzard’s popular Overwatch further expands our esports offerings and aligns ELEAGUE with a game that is widely embraced by the community. We look forward to bringing the same level of production and storytelling capabilities we’ve demonstrated throughout the first season of ELEAGUE to this championship event.”
Finals airing live on TBS
After the North American (Sept. 25-26) and European (Sept. 28-29) regional finals are done, the winning teams will advance to the grand finals, which will take place on Friday, Sept. 30, and will be aired live on TBS.
This won’t be the first time a major esports event is aired live on TBS. In May, ELEAGUE’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive project attracted a massive crowd of 509,000 viewers.
“ELEAGUE serves as the perfect stage for the evolution of the esports industry and we are thrilled to expand our platform with Blizzard’s Overwatch,” said Karen Brodkin, president of business affairs at WME | IMG. “We look forward to capitalizing on the momentum from season one of ELEAGUE with another compelling event featuring one of the most exciting new games in esports.”
Even though esports is relatively new to mainstream television, the industry has already grown into a $500 million industry as reported by Newzoo.
Currently dominating online viewing platforms like Twitch and Azubu, the competitive gaming scene is slowly but surely gaining presence on distribution platforms, which are more commonly seen hosting traditional sports.
Esports organizations embracing the success of Overwatch
As the Overwatch scene expands, more and more esports organizations are readying their troops for upcoming battles.
Recently, the U.S. esports organization Team SoloMid acquired the promising Overwatch team Code7. During the past couple of months, the team that was previously sponsored by Gale Force Esports has shown a lot of potential, finishing at third place at the Heroes Rising LAN and qualifying for the finals of the ESL Atlantic Showdown last week.
The European esports organization Fnatic has also made its move into the Overwatch crowd. It recently picked up Nubris, a mixture of Swedish and American players, all of whom have tons of experience competing at the game’s top level.
If Overwatch continues to grow this quickly in popularity we might see a lot more of the game emerging in the competitive scene, with more major esports organizations picking up their lineups for upcoming tournaments, and potentially even leagues.