Overwatch Contenders’ New Broadcast Schedule Will Test Overwatch World League’s Popularity

Published: Feb 24, 2020 - Last Updated: Jan 10, 2022

After two successful opening years in operation, the Overwatch World League (OWL) faces its biggest test yet in the 2020 season, and that doesn’t include the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on the schedule of games.

In 2020, the OWL will see games move from a central hub in Los Angeles, to specialist venues in the home cities of the teams competing in the event. This is the very first time that a major esports league has followed the example of sports such as the NFL or NBA, where teams will play a city-based home/away format.

Ambitious New Structure

There’s no doubt that the Coronavirus outbreak in China, which is home to three teams in the OWL, has impacted this first season of home/away fixtures. This has facilitated a major rearrangement of games, with all fixtures scheduled to take place in China in February and March postponed, with rearranged games to be played in South Korea at the end of March.

With streaming of the game switching from Twitch to Google (viewed on the  Overwatch League YouTube Channel), in what could be a make-or-break season for the series, to add further complications, the new season of Overwatch Contenders is also now underway with a series of start dates for seven regions of action all over the globe.

The action kicks off in Australia on 23rd Feb, the Pacific region on the 24th Feb, South America on 29th Feb, Europe and North American on 3rd March, China on the 10th March and lastly, South Korea on the 11th March. Together with a new ecosystem, which will hopefully make the progression through the contender system more uniform across all regions, it is hoped that the Contenders league will provide plenty of quality players for the top-level OWL in future seasons.

When you consider what is happening in the OWL in terms of the tournament organization and, the new ecosystem for Overwatch Contenders and the new broadcasting partnership, it is fair to say that this ambitious new structure for the series will either make or break it.


Key Factors for OWL and Esports Industry to Consider

While much has rightly been made of the potential demands on individual players, in terms of the number of games and more pertinently, the traveling they face, there are also wider implications at stake for the future of the OWL and also for future esports tournaments.

Whether this new structure world for the OWL could shape the future of top esports tournaments events for years to come. If this City-based format works and proves popular with fans, as it seems to have done in the opening weeks in Dallas and New York, then it is not unreasonable to expect other top esports tournaments to follow suit with a similar setup.

Indeed, the new Call of Duty League is already being set up along just such lines.


While the steps taken to mitigate travel and burnout for players are eye-catching, it will effectively be the appeal of the tournament to fans online and, crucially, within the 20 host cities that will decide whether the whole OWL set up is a winner. There’s no doubt that, Coronavirus apart, it has been a promising start already.

However, it will only be at the end of season 3 and when the state of the teams and players can be assessed, that we can judge whether the new OWL scheduling and structure is one that could shape the future of esports tournaments for years to come.

Images courtesy of the Overwatch League

Ian John

Since: August 10, 2015

Ian is a regular contributor to EsportsBets. Ian is well-versed in the world of esports betting and casino gaming and has written extensively on the online gambling industry. Ian brings fresh insight into all facets of gaming.

See all articles from this author

Related Articles

February 25, 2024

How to Watch the PGL Major Copenhagen

Top-tier Counter-Strike returns in March as the PGL Major Copenhagen 2024 kicks off pitting 24 teams against each…
Best Fortnite Skins 2021
February 20, 2024

Best Fortnite Skins 2024: Which Are The Top 10 Most Popular Skins in Fortnite?

So, you want to flash your cash, and show off your Fortnite fashion to the rest of the…
GSL Season 2 Code S: Betting Preview
February 19, 2024

GSL Code S Season 1 2024 Betting Preview: Odds, Format & Predictions

Kickstarting another season, GSL Code S betting is back with the first season of 2024 kicking off in…
February 14, 2024

Rivalry and Blacklist International Extend Partnership in Dota 2-Focused Venture

Sports betting and media company Rivalry has extended its partnership with esports organization Blacklist International, as the pair of companies…
February 13, 2024

Thunderpick World Championship Returns with $1 Million Prize Pool

Online crypto betting site Thunderpick has today announced the Thunderpick World Championship 2024, an international CS2 tournament with…
Spirit vs FaZe Analysis & Prediction - IEM Katowice 2024 Grand Final
February 11, 2024

Spirit vs FaZe Analysis & Prediction – IEM Katowice 2024 Grand Final

Despite being a rematch from the group stage, this year’s IEM Katowice Grand Final has got everyone excited…
Spirit vs Falcons Odds and Prediction - IEM Katowice 2024
February 10, 2024

Spirit vs Falcons Odds and Prediction – IEM Katowice 2024

Counter-Strike fans around the world finally get the chance to witness Danil “donk” Kryshkovets on the big stage,…
MOUZ vs FaZe Odds & Prediction
February 10, 2024

MOUZ vs FaZe Betting Tips, Odds & Prediction

Eight of the ten players in the first IEM Katowice 2024 semi-final have played under the MOUZ banner…