Overwatch Joins ESL Australia and New Zealand Championship

by Steven Cropley

A global leader in Esports entertainment, ESL has revealed that Blizzard Entertainments popular first-person shooter Overwatch will be making its way to the ESL Australia and New Zealand Championship. The event will feature a $12,000 prize pool and begin right away via online cups leading up to the offline championship.

ESL AU NZ OW
(Photo: ESL)

According to the announcement, the event will run throughout March and April with two cups taking place per month. From those two cups, four teams will move on to a monthly final where those teams will attempt to earn $1,000 AUD and qualification for the offline finals. The top two teams from each monthly final will be granted entry to the offline finals.

For the region, $10,000 AUD is the biggest prize pool to date for the esports title.

Schedule of events for AU and NZ Championship:

March:

  • Sunday, March 12th – Overwatch Cup #1
  • Saturday, March 18th – Overwatch Cup #2
  • Sunday, March 19th – Overwatch March Monthly Final ($1,000 AUD prize pool)

April:

  • Sunday, April 2nd – Overwatch Cup #3
  • Sunday, April 9th – Overwatch Cup #4
  • Sunday, April 23rd – Overwatch April Monthly Final ($1,000 AUD prize pool)

May:

  • Overwatch ESL AU & NZ Championship Final ($10,000 AUD prize pool) – Date TBA

The Blizzard title continues to draw attention with the imminent start of its Overwatch League on the horizon. It was revealed just weeks ago that the league is set to begin in the third quarter of 2017 but that is not the only reason people have heard Overwatch League as of late. 

According to a report from Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal, Blizzard Entertainment is looking to bring only the folks with the big bucks to its new Overwatch League. According to the report, "multiple sources said, top Activision Blizzard executives hoped to solicit multiple bids in key markets, and believed a franchise could sell for $2 million to $5 million in smaller markets and three times that in Los Angeles, a focal point of esports activity."

For a game that has yet to show certainty in its future as an esport title, these prices are very high. Blizzard is selling the idea that it will make Overwatch a top-tier esports title, a thought that not everybody shares can be done so easily. Todd Merry, CMO of Delaware North Cos., a company that recently backed the Splyce franchise in February, told Sports Business Journal, “This is the first game that Blizzard’s come out and said, we want to make this the next esports phenomenon. I don’t think you can tell the market this is going to be a phenomenon. You have to let the market decide that.”