After nearly two years of the Overwatch League being played out almost entirely in Los Angeles’ Blizzard Arena, the Overwatch League has announced that it is having a serious format overhaul for the upcoming 2020 season.
Starting its third season, the league will start to see its city-based franchising system fall into place as teams begin to play matches in their local cities.
The new format will expand on the “homestand” approach that has been introduced this year, with the Dallas Fuel, Atlanta Reign, and Los Angeles Valiant each hosting a weekend of matches throughout the season.
In Season 3 every single match will be played out in one of the teams’ home venues, with the league essentially becoming a touring production that travels between different local stadiums. Each team will host at least two homestands during the season, meaning every city represented by a team is guaranteed to see competition.
This is the first big step towards a vastly different industry than the one we currently know and love – whilst city-based franchising has had more than its fair share of criticism, giving cities a chance to watch their local team without having to travel to Los Angeles is a huge step in the right direction.
“Next year is really when we start to run,” says Jon Spector, senior product director for the Overwatch League.
“The homestands this year were explicitly designed as a test and an opportunity to learn,” he continues. “The initial feedback on the model has been nothing but positive, and we feel really good about moving forward with it into next year.”
With the upcoming Call of Duty League being a city-based franchise league, we may well see something similar come to CoD esports in the coming years.
Below is a list of all the current Overwatch League teams and the division they’re in, so you can get a better idea of the matchups you might get to see.
- Boston Uprising
- London Spitfire
- Toronto Defiant
- New York Excelsior
- Paris Eternal
- Atlanta Reign
- Florida Mayhem
- Washington Justice
- Philadelphia Fusion
- Houston Outlaws
- Los Angeles Gladiators
- Los Angeles Valiant
- Dallas Fuel
- Vancouver Titans
- San Francisco Shock
- Chengdu Hunters
- Guangzhou Charge
- Hangzhou Spark
- Shanghai Dragons
- Seoul Dynasty
Stage Four of the Overwatch League kicks off July 25th, but fans will have to wait until next year to see their team’s local homestand.