Overwatch League Cutting Length Of Season In '19, Moving Start Date
The Overwatch League will cut the length of the season from 40 games to 28 for every team in '19, freeing up more time for teams to build local fan bases and produce non-competition content for sponsors. The season will begin on Feb. 14 instead of early January, giving the preseason marketing window more distance from the late December holiday season. Teams played twice weekly last year with just one week off between season stages. Some teams this year will have bye weeks or play just one game each week, and there will be a longer break around the All-Star Game. All contests will again be at the Blizzard Arena in L.A., but teams’ local revenue depends on them being able to activate in their home markets. “One of the most consistent pieces of feedback we received from teams is that if we’re playing two matches every week and just a one-week break between stages, it’s really hard to get the players back to Houston, or Boston, or even San Francisco to spend time with partners, or to do fun events with fans,” said OWL Dir of Franchises & Competition Jon Spector. “It’s a big priority for us to enable more of that type of local activation.” There is a sense coming out of the OWL’s first season that fewer games can better focus fan enthusiasm on higher-stakes contests, Spector said. Despite the cut in schedules, there will be a net increase of 40 games operated by OWL because of the addition of eight expansion teams. Meanwhile, OWL announced that the expansion franchises would be placed in the two existing divisions, Atlantic and Pacific. Paris, Toronto, DC and Atlanta will join the Atlantic Division, while Vancouver, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Hangzhou will join the Pacific Division.
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