Blizzard is pushing hard to put eSports on the same level as ‘real’ sports, including making full-on professional leagues, and the company has just revealed the pay structure of its Overwatch League (OWL).
So how much will Overwatch pros take home in terms of a salary? Blizzard has stipulated a minimum wage of $50,000 (£38,000, AU$62,000) per year (with players signing up for one-year contracts at a time, with an option given to extend said contract by a year).
However, on top of that base wage players will get a share of any bonuses the team accrues. In fact, half of all tournament prize money that a team secures gets shared between the players; and there are some major chunks of cash up for grabs.
As Techspot (opens in new tab) notes, the first season prize money for OWL runs to $3.5 million (£2.7 million, AU$4.4 million), with a cool million bucks going to whoever wins the league outright. So assuming that in the latter case the champion team has the maximum of 12 players on its roster, they’ll each take home an $83,000 (£63,000, AU$103,000) bonus on top of the base $50,000 (£38,000, AU$62,000) wage.
And don’t forget that players also receive health insurance and a retirement savings plan, and of course for the real stars, sponsorship opportunities.
Sign of the times
Teams can have between six and 12 players, with the official player signing window of the first season of OWL opening on August 1 and running through to October 30. Any Overwatch player of majority age (i.e. usually 18+) is considered a ‘potential free agent’ as Blizzard notes, and the company is helping to facilitate statistics-based scouting reports to help teams find key signings.
There are currently seven teams in the Overwatch League, drawn from cities across the US, along with a pair of teams from South Korea and China. These are: Boston, Los Angeles, Miami/Orlando, New York City, San Francisco, Seoul, and Shanghai.
More teams are coming, of course, so maybe now’s the time to get practising in the hope of getting noticed by Blizzard’s scouting system (opens in new tab), and perhaps subsequently by one of the big franchises.
- Upgrade your rig to an AMD Ryzen processor to start training