Overwatch Contenders announced today a slew of updates to the Path-to-Pro system. Including the reveal that the regions would become more individualized in regards to updates and changes. They revealed that as they began to form an idea of what the future of contenders would look like they incorporated feedback from the teams, players, and the community at large to see what best suits each region. Which has led to an outline that they hope will be seen as more flexible and diverse the world over.
The second season of Overwatch Contenders will commence in July in some areas, with more details promised to be shared as the date approaches. Plans for the 2020 Gauntlet are still in flux due to the continuing COVID-19 crisis. The league at the time is looking for all regions to have at least one team be able to represent them in the proposed tournament.
Here are the variety of changes per region that will be coming to Contenders for season 2:
Due to prior success in the region, the 2020 Season 2 format will remain the same as Season 1, consisting of four weeks of Trials and Contenders weekly play followed by a double-elimination playoff bracket. The total prize pool for Contenders China will be US $175k.
While the Contenders format will remain unchanged, we’re also planning to improve other aspects of the tournament for regional fans, including the viewing experience, accessibility of match information, and Chinese social media exposure. In addition, we are also considering holding more third-party events to better support the Chinese esports community. Our plans are constantly evolving, and we look forward to sharing details when ready.
Europe and North America
These two regions will move to a monthly format focused on delivering fun, high-stakes tournament competition while also developing up-and-coming players into professionals.
The Season 2 format in Europe and North America will be as follows:
- A total of 5 tournaments are scheduled to run in each region from July–November, each with a US $35k prize pool. The new monthly format will allow us to implement changes faster and experiment with different ideas more frequently in response to feedback from our players, teams, and the broader community.
- This new format is scheduled to begin in July with an 8-team double-elimination tournament in both regions.
- The top 4 teams from Season 1 Playoffs will be directly invited. The 5th- through 16th-place teams will be invited into a round-robin style Trials tournament at the beginning of the month to qualify the remaining 4 teams into the competition.
- All matches from the double-elimination tournament in July will be broadcast.
We recognize that being a professional is more than being a skilled competitor and we plan to ramp up a variety of educational sessions each month aimed at preparing our players to be successful teammates, entertainers, brand ambassadors, and more. We will share details about these educational programs later this year.
We’re excited to move back to a traditional league format in Korea, which has been well-received in the region in the past.
- The regular season is scheduled to consist of a 10-team round-robin (2 groups of 5).
- The top 8 teams from Season 1 will automatically qualify for Season 2. The other two teams will be determined by a double-elimination Trials tournament featuring the 9th- through 12th-place teams from Season 1 and the top 4 teams from Open Division.
- Six teams will qualify for single-elimination playoffs.
- The total prize pool for Contenders Korea will be US $175k.
- We plan to officially broadcast all matches in the region.
After reviewing various options with players, teams, and others in the region, Australia will also move back to a traditional league format similar to what we’ve seen in previous seasons of Contenders.
- The regular season is scheduled to consist of 8 teams in round-robin play.
- The Top 4 teams from Season 1 will automatically qualify for Season 2. The other 4 teams will be determined by a double-elimination Trials tournament featuring the bottom 4 teams from Season 1 Playoffs and the 9th- through 12th-place teams from Season 1.
- The playoffs are scheduled to consist of 4 teams in a double-elimination format.
- The total prize pool for Contenders Australia will be US $100k.
- In the regular season, we plan to cover three matches in each cycle of the round-robin live on broadcast, in addition to the entirety of the playoffs.
Pacific Overwatch Contenders will not be returning for a second season this year. We’re currently exploring ways to build a unique experience for Pacific players and we plan to support these events directly with US $100k in tournament prizing. In addition to prizing, we’re also looking to qualify at least one team from these new events for the Gauntlet later this year.
The Pacific Season 1 champion, Talon Esports, will receive a direct invitation to Contenders Korea Trials.
Based on feedback from the teams, players, and talent in the region, South America will transition to a hybrid between the Season 1 format and a traditional league format.
- The regular season is scheduled to consist of a series of 10-team round robins (two groups of five teams) followed by a brief single-elimination tournament, ultimately leading to season-end playoffs.
- The 8 teams that qualified for the Season 1 Playoffs will automatically qualify for Season 2. The other 2 teams will be determined by a double-elimination Trials tournament featuring the 9th- through 12th-place teams from Season 1 and the top 4 teams from Open Division.
- The total prize pool for Contenders South America will be US $100k.
- We’ll also be spinning up more coverage of the region along with other exhibition-style competitions to promote fan engagement with players.
Open Division and Other Updates
Overall, we plan to continue to iterate and lean into what’s working on a regional level, as well as listen and share our plans earlier with players and fans.
More specifically, we will share details around Open Division changes and how the program will continue to feed into Contenders in different regions at a later date. We’re also currently looking at ways that third-party tournaments can directly tie into programs like Overwatch Contenders. We will share those specific plans and others as things get closer to being finalized.”
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