Esports are an increasingly popular form of entertainment. It is free and easily accessible entertainment that is watchable from almost anywhere in the world. Some people even say that watching esports is more fun than watching actual sports. One of the most popular esports is the Overwatch League (OWL), which has just started its second season.
The Overwatch League is a popular esports league that plays the 2016 game, Overwatch. OWL took all the best professional players in the game from all over the world and invited them to compete for the 1.7 million dollar grand prize. Season one was announced in early 2018, with 12 teams competing for $1.7 million. It started on January 10th and lasted all the way to the grand finals, which were held on July 28th, 2018. They gained over 96 million viewed hours, with the grand finals alone gaining over 10 million viewers.
The OWL is split up into five parts. There are four stages, and each stage has five weeks. At the end of each stage, the top three teams compete for a large prize. In Season One, the prize was $125,000. But, because of the immense popularity of season one, season two has upped the prize pool. At the end of each stage, the first place team will now be getting $500,000, with a grand prize of $3.5 million , over double the first seasons’ grand prize.
Season two did not just put more money to the stake though. There are now 20 teams with brand new talent. The new teams’ rosters focused a bit more on well-known players, like popular Overwatch streamer, Dafran.
Originally from Denmark, Dafran is one of the top Overwatch streamers on twitch. He has over 350,000 followers and is a name throughout the community due to his immense talent on the character Tracer. He, like many of the new players, draws in thousands of first-time viewers to the league.
But unlike the first set of teams, which had nine American teams, these second season teams are much more diverse in terms of location. Only 2 of the 8 teams are American-based (the Washington Justice and the Atlanta Reign). There are now 11 American teams, four Chinese teams, two European teams, two Canadian teams, and one South Korean Team. This diversity not only brings in more viewers from around the world, but also increases the individual player’s morale.
The Overwatch League is quickly becoming a more popular Esport. Whether people come to watch the players compete at a top level, or to get tips for their own playing experience, esports are quickly beginning to replace sports.