With the initial announcement earlier this year of Blizzard making a dedicated, primetime league for Overwatch, eSports fans and players alike have been vying for more information about the next big push for eSports to be legitimized in mainstream sports culture. After the recent reveal of what cities will be getting teams, we now have some more information on how the pros will be compensated.
In a recent release by Blizzard, the gaming juggernaut revealed that the players signed during the August 1st through October 30th window, will be given the following benefits in their contract:
- Teams will sign players to one-year guaranteed contracts with the option to extend the contract for an additional year.
- The minimum salary for players is USD $50,000 per year.
- Teams will provide players with health insurance and a retirement savings plan.
- Teams will distribute at least 50% of their team performance bonuses (i.e. money from winning playoffs and other League events) to their players directly.
On top of that, teams will be required to offer housing and practice facilities during the season for their players. eSports have been a growing force that has made some attempts of breaking into the mainstream with tournaments such as EVO and Heroes of the Dorm being showcased on ESPN, but this structure that Blizzard is creating for Overwatch is something we’ve yet to see in professional gaming.
It offers the opportunity for truly gifted gamers to be able to earn a legitimate living off of something they are passionate about and skilled at. Here’s hoping that the initial 7 teams involved can cultivate the fan base in each city needed to generate enough money and interest for this to continue.