Overwatch League Players to Get $50K Salaries, Housing, Health Plan

Contracts will also include a retirement savings plan, according to new rules set down by Blizzard.

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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.

Contributing Editor

From The Chatty

  • reply
    July 26, 2017 12:30 PM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Overwatch League Players to Get $50K Salaries, Housing, Health Plan

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      July 26, 2017 1:05 PM

      If eSports are going to become a legitimate industry, then the participants need to be taken as actual professionals and held to professional standards. And that includes providing them with the salaries and benefits of a profession.

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        July 26, 2017 2:41 PM

        Agree. But i also think they need to lose the "Nicknames" and just go by last names. It's hard to take a Sport seriously when the Players are named "Nukky64" "Gumpy" "Havoc94" etc. Just use the last names, people will take you more seriously.

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          July 26, 2017 3:08 PM

          Agreed there. Back in my cal-i days for CS we had to use our last names for our ingame names after the clan tag.

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            July 26, 2017 3:36 PM

            Its fine as long as they stick with their handle.

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          July 26, 2017 3:42 PM

          I wonder if the tourneys are played on live servers or not.

          Seeing a kill stream of real last names would be weird to me.

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          July 26, 2017 3:51 PM

          This is soooo true. I was watching drone racing league recently and couldnt take it seriously because of this.

          I'm surprised it hasnt happened yet.

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          July 26, 2017 4:18 PM

          Especially when they can change the names. So the casters are calling them their on screen name some of the time but their other name most of the time. This happens in Dota 2.

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        July 26, 2017 3:47 PM

        Haha drug tests, code of conduct, and agents!

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          July 26, 2017 3:53 PM

          man drug tests seem super important with esports.... if not then EVERY fucking person is going to be on adderall

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      July 26, 2017 1:33 PM

      Blizzard is really going all-in on a game no one seems to want to watch.

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        July 26, 2017 2:30 PM

        Needs more waifu

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        July 26, 2017 2:50 PM

        It's been in the top 10 at twitch every day since launch.

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          July 26, 2017 2:53 PM

          Sure, but other games catapult to #1 by hundreds of thousands of viewers during their events. No one watches Overwatch tournaments. Individual streamers impact those metrics more.

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            July 26, 2017 2:58 PM

            it seems blizzard is ready to increase their production value beyond single streamers, which is essentially the inverse of MOBAs. a FUCKLOAD of people watch those tournaments, and then streaming returns back to shitty players. meanwhile, in overwatch, many mediocre players stream and a handful of experts.

            I am ready for gaming streaming to make a leap forward, find a happy medium between LoL's tier 1 fantastic weekend coverage and something kitchy just for background noise during the week.

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            July 26, 2017 2:58 PM

            not quite the same as being a game "no one seems to want to watch" tho

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              July 26, 2017 3:00 PM

              My bad.

              Blizzard is really going all-on on an esport no one wants to watch.

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                July 26, 2017 3:07 PM

                well, from watching a few high level matches, it's likely just too much fucking noise with no announcer overlay. "MERCY LOW MERCY LOW" being shouted, when your POV doesn't even have mercy visible, is a problem. the MOBAs have really dialed in their streams nicely.

                I think people would want to watch overwatch - there are some brain bendingly amazing plays and teamwork.

                it's great to watch a stream of a game where they don't have to do the "YO thanks for subbin bro" every 5 seconds. overwatch could really rise to the challenge, and have a shooter be really engaging to watch. PUBG and CS are slow enough for people to follow more easily, so they certainly are fun - but damn... watching a pro grade Genji is something gamers should appreciate. we just have to fix the signal to noise ratio.

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                  July 26, 2017 3:31 PM

                  Overwatch, like many competitive FPS's, is absolutely terrible for spectators to watch and like Junktown was saying, their viewer counts for their tournaments and leagues are typically low and abismal compared to other established games.

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                    July 26, 2017 3:39 PM

                    yeah. kinda the nature of that game, I suppose, but here is where blizzard can shine with specially crafted viewer modes for tournaments. MOBAs are a lot easier obviously, but FPSes can see some improvement for the viewer, I'm sure of it. it just needs announcers and the company hosting the stream to have better options.

                    otherwise you get "ULT NOW ULT NOW" at 9000 decibels while watching extreme mouse whipping and that's no good.

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                      July 26, 2017 3:47 PM

                      CS:GO's spectator mode should be the example that FPS's follow. In my opinion, Overwatch will be a game with a sizeable community, one that will be active for years. Overwatch is not going to be a widely viewed or televised competitive game. I'm sure Blizzard is willing to hemmorage money on it for a while, but it's already been over a year and its gained little to no traction. Everything that gets talked about around the game as an esport is what Blizzard is trying to do, not what the game is already doing. They're spinning their wheels.

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                      July 26, 2017 4:13 PM

                      There needs to be an overhead, bird's eye view camera

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                    July 26, 2017 3:46 PM

                    Even as someone who knows the game very well I thought it was terrible to watch (saw it on a TV channel) I can't imagine how bad it would be for someone who hasn't played it a lot.

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                      July 26, 2017 3:55 PM

                      I use CSGO as the model because of how its pace is much slower and its objective is easy to grasp. One team is trying to plant a bomb, the others are trying to stop them. They have realistic guns that go "pewpewpewpew". Its easy for the most casual of viewers to watch. An example being that my father who hasn't touched Counter Strike in years has watched some pro games with me and mildly enjoyed them, while not having a single god damn clue as to watch was going on in Overwatch. He's not the target demographic, but I feel like that sxample speaks volumes. He used to play videogames like CS and UT with me, but hasn't in so long. He still plays games (CoD, WoT on an XBO specifically), but just didn't understand OW well, yet he was able to still comprehend or work out what was happening during CS. He even said that the spectator cams and pacing provided enough time for him to get what was going on in CS.

                      Blizzard will be Blizzard and dump a lot of cash into the idea of this league, but I really don't see it going very far. The bubble bursted for new games to make entry.

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                      July 26, 2017 5:21 PM

                      I don't think any esport will thrive on casual viewers . Even street fighter , the easiest camera for an esport , is impossible to follow if you don't know the game

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            July 26, 2017 5:27 PM

            Overwatch World Cup last year peaked at 100k , not terrible

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          July 26, 2017 3:24 PM

          There not watching actual tournaments or professional games. They're most likely watching TimtheTatman or some other personality.

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        July 26, 2017 2:55 PM

        LOL fuckin perfect :D so ahead of its time

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        July 26, 2017 3:11 PM

        I remember analyzing the shit out of this cartoon when I was 10-12 to figure out which was the 'best' job offer and the one I'd take. I landed on the $95k 4 day workweek plus ferrari

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      July 26, 2017 3:11 PM

      What are they going to do when they're up In years and need a real job? Fall back on their communications degree?

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        July 26, 2017 3:18 PM

        Become an analyst? Lots of dota personalities are doing that. Or become a streamer. Or fade into obscurity just like many minor league baseball players.

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        July 26, 2017 4:02 PM

        This is my concern. A lot of kids are going to see $50K/year and think that it's a life-changing amount and they can set everything else aside. It will only work out ultimately for a few of them--those that have the combination of in-game skills and social skills--that they get to be middle class for a while from playing a game.

        The reality ultimately is that no one really cares if you are really good at the game. As a competitive player in these kinds of leagues, you're an expensive advertisement for the game/brand. Ultimately, you'll have to be good at the game *and* sell your personality in order for this kind of thing to be sustainable. And at that point, a lot of it is on you. Then again, we're obviously in a different world from the late 90s. I'm just really worried about a lot of kids thinking "i'll see where e-sports takes me"--and these are mostly kids who otherwise have lots of opportunities, support structures, etc.

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          July 26, 2017 4:11 PM

          Just wait to see the endorsements man!

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        July 26, 2017 4:12 PM

        From what I have seen in LoL most professional players don't play for long so its completely possible they could go to college or start a career. Most will have made decent money for being that young.

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      July 26, 2017 5:12 PM

      This is very good for eSports. Hopefully the league can support this.

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        July 26, 2017 5:16 PM

        That said, these prize pools need to go wwwwwwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyy up. Way way way up. Crowd-source that shit like Valve if you have to.

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          July 26, 2017 5:24 PM

          Well 1 million for the season 1 winner is a decent start

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          July 26, 2017 5:52 PM

          I think Valve has skewed everybody's perspective. A prize pool that large is not the normal or necessary for a league to survive.

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      July 27, 2017 6:21 AM

      Nobody tell my kids about this