With Blizzard prepping its teams for the inaugural season of its Overwatch League, the company has unveiled how it expects teams to treat their players, from salaries and bonuses to extra benefits. Players signups will begin August 1, with players bound to one-year contracts with an option for a second year.
Blizzard is requiring the following from its current roster of seven teams:
- Players get one-year guaranteed contracts, with the option to extend it for another year
- The minimum salary for each player is $50,000 per year
- Each player will get health insurance and a retirement savings plan, provided by the team.
- At least 50% of a team's performance bonuses (from winning playoffs and other League events) will be paid out directly to players.
About $3.5 million in bonuses is expected be available in Season 1, with $1 million going to the winner of the season-ending championship.
As for team rosters, the seven teams will have a window of August 1 to October 30 to sign any of the 30+ million Overwatch players throughout the world, as long as they are not bound by an existing contract. Blizzard laid out a scouting report for teams to determine how to find the best players, and rosters are not confined to just pros. Anyone that players Overwatch is eligible. Blizzard said the signing process is unique to this year, and could easily change next season.
Once players sign their contract with their team, they will need to be approved by the Overwatch League and sign a contract with Blizzard as well.
Each team must have at least six players, but no more than 12. The team must supply housing and practice facilities for its players as well. What is a bit unusual is that Blizzard is not region-locking teams to players in its areas, so players from around the world can sign with any team. For Season 1, the teams that have paid their $20 million entry fee are Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Boston, Miami/Orlando, Shanghai and Seoul. More teams are expected to be added.
Blizzard has said it expecting to launch the season later this year. All regular season matches will take place in Los Angeles in the first year, although teams can showcase their talent locally in up to five amateur events in their "home territory" each year.