The first ever eSports league that features city-based teams will kick off their preseason games today. The long-awaited “Overwatch League”, featuring the incredibly hot game that 30-40 million players purchased, begins when the Florida Mayhem take on the San Francisco Shock at 7pm EST tonight. While eSports leagues and tournaments are nothing new, they had previously featured teams such as CLG, Cloud9, and Team Solo-Mid. This is the first time a major league had teams based on cities. In addition, the league offers contracts to players with guaranteed salaries, health insurance, and even retirement plans.
Blizzard is wasting no time in generating revenue by selling real and virtual jerseys of the teams, remodeling a studio into the Overwatch League Arena, and allowing teams to sell jersey space to corporate sponsors. The Dallas Fuel was the first to announce they had sold a patch to Jack in the Box.
The Philadelphia Fusion announced in a pair of tweets that, due to player logistics issues, the team is unable to participate in the Overwatch League preseason, this Wednesday through Saturday.
For the first match of day one of the preseason, on Wednesday, Dec. 6, at 4 p.m. PST, the San Francisco Shock will take the place of the Philadelphia Fusion, facing off against the Florida Mayhem. Replacement teams for subsequent preseason matches which may have featured the Philadelphia Fusion will be announced during the tournament.
Get Your Geek On talk radio interviewed executives from both the Dallas Fuel and the Houston Outlaws. Both interviews can be heard on the archive.