An introduction to Overwatch League Pre-Season, its problems and finances

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The pre-season for Overwatch League is already facing troubles. Philadelphia Fusion have announced that they will be pulling out of the pre-season matches to be held in early December 2017. This comes as a big surprise to the entire esports community which was looking forth to the developments taking place in Overwatch esports.

The Overwatch League is scheduled to begin from January 10th till June 16th, 2018. There are twelve teams participating in the inaugural season with each having contributed an investment of at least $20 million. This is the upfront price of the franchise and will be used to the development of the Overwatch League itself.


Twelve teams, 1 trophy

There are twelve teams in the first season of the Overwatch League. The twelve teams are attached to geographical locations ( cities ) spread across the globe. While it is called as the first global esports league, the representation of cities is heavily skewed towards one continent. The first season consists of Nine NA cities, One London Team ( EU ) , One team from China and One team from Seoul, South Korea. Blizzard aim to balance out the playing field in subsequent seasons with proper representation across the globe.

Each team can have a maximum of twelve players on their roster. A typical match in Overwatch requires six players on a team. The rosters of all the twelve teams have already been finalised and there are a few teams with more than the requisite six players. As we head into the pre-season, the fans will get their first glimpses of the OWL teams.

The original structure and format of the pre-season was scheduled in a way that all the teams would play multiple matches. These matches would be a showcase to the teams’ strengths, their playstyle and how the Overwatch league would look like once it goes live. Obviously with Philadelphia Fusion dropping out due to logistical issues, we will see a league with only eleven teams.



The Pre-Season will have matches with 4 maps each. This format was used during the Overwatch World Cup 2017. The teams accrue points played over the course of two days. We are not particularly fond of the four map matches between teams. This lends to a much higher chance of witnessing drawn matches between two teams. For a competitive esport such as Overwatch, fans would love to see which team wins a particular match-up.

The community’s perception of OWL team rankings

The PreSeason does not have a prize reward, instead it’s reward will be getting new fans and loyal followers for each team. The eleven teams will compete for the branding and the advertising that the pre-season brings with it. Any team performs well in the pre-season will have gained a lot of fans and loyal supporters before the start of the season.

Philadelphia Fusion


Philadelphia Fusion have announced that they will not be playing in the Pre-Season of Overwatch League. They have been facing logistics issues with their players and staff and hence have pulled out from the pre-season.

The Philadelphia team features players from ten nationalities. Their rosters consists of players from South Korea, Israel, Russia, France, Finland, United Kingdom, Canada, Spain, and the United States. Getting permissions and ironing out the legalities to get all these players to California definitely will prove tricky. While they have not mentioned the exact cause the diversity in their lineup is definitely a big suspect for their “logistics issues”.

That being said, it probably would have been better for the team to come out transparently about the issues. Missing out on the pre-season of a $20 million investment is definitely something big and is a big letdown to all the fans and viewers who were waiting to see Carpe, Shadowburn and others in action.

Support your Team


Houston Outlaw’s Team Skin

Seeking to build their fan base and loyalty, the Overwatch League will be featuring team specific skins. The twelve teams will each have their own specific skin colors. Nate Nanzer announced this decision via a video link yesterday.

There will be a special currency called League Tokens. These tokens will be the measure of all proceedings towards the Overwatch League. Players will be able to buy the tokens and choose which skins they want to buy. As an offer, Blizzard will be offering every player across PC, XBOX enough tokens to be able to buy their first ever skin.

Every team will have their own colored skin

Microtransactions have become the go-to model for gaming companies in this modern age. We see the huge numbers posted by other games such as CS GO Dota2 etc. While there might be moral implications on the usage of microtransactions in the future of gaming, the current model is nothing but a means to monetise esports.

Blizzard’s League Tokens and the team skins will help in directly contributing to a team’s popularity as well as merchandise sales. Contrary to regular sports, esports will probably earn majority of it’s money via virtual items and goods.

The first match for Pre-Season starts at 7pm EST on December 6th. The tournament will be held at the Blizzard Arena, Los Angeles and will be streamed live on Twitch.

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