Running alongside to the first season of the Overwatch League in 2018 was the Contenders series, which has unearthed 90 players for professional teams.
Because the players in Overwatch Contenders are largely unknown on the global stage there is yet to be any betting on the series which will be played out in Australia, Europe, Korea, North America, Pacific and South America.
The tournament will then culminate in Atlantic and Pacific showdowns. Teams from Europe, North America and South America will battle it out in a double-elimination playoff, with Australia, China, Korea and a team from Asia-Pacific also facing off under the same rules.
While all this is going on scouts from pro Overwatch League teams will be keeping a close eye on the budding talent on display, while for the casual punter it could be a goldmine unearthing the next big thing before the sportsbooks cotton on.
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We have previously mentioned that you cannot currently bet on the Overwatch Contenders, but if this changes we will update this page. The following online betting sites all have Overwatch League markets.
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Overwatch Contenders structure
The 2019 season of contenders will pit eight regions best teams against each other, but first each region must decide who will represent them in these playoffs. Each of these regions best teams will play two regular seasons to decided who will reach the playoff stage.
Phase 1: The trial stage
Most regions will featured eight teams with these all being contender teams, barring a sprinkling of open division teams that have already qualified for the regular season.
Phase 2: The regular season
Each of the academy teams, linked to professional outfits, selected teams from the previous season and top up teams from the contenders phase will play a round robin style playoff in each region. The top six teams qualify for the playoff stage.
Phase 3: Playoffs
The best six teams in each region will play a single-elimination bracket. The two teams seeded will be be given an automatic pass into the semi finals. The winner of the final will be crowned champion of their region.
Phase 4: Pacific and Atlantic champions
Double-elimination tournaments between teams from South America, Europe and North America; and Asia-Pacific, Australia, China and Korea.
One teach will be crowned champion in both Pacific and Atlantic regions.
2019 Season 2
Phase 1: A new trials format
A new trials format will be used in season 2, with it putting the top four teams from Open Division and the bottom two from 2019 season 1 against each other in a round-robin tournament to fill the remaining spots in the regular season.
Phase 2: The regular season
All the playoff teams in season 1 2019 automatically qualify for the regular season. The rest of the teams in the regular season will be made up of teams from the trials stage. The format will be the same as season 1.
Phase 3: Playoffs
Like season 1, the top six teams will compete in a single-elimination bracket with the top two teams automatically advancing to the semi finals. One team will win each region.
Phase 4: The Gauntlet
10 teams will compete in group stages and ultimately will play a double-elimination bracket. The best performing regions will be invited to send their teams to the Gauntlet. While the winners of the Pacific and Atlantic showdowns will also be invited to the 2019 Contender Finale.
Will there be any betting on the 2019 Contender season?
Who knows how much attention the Overwatch Contenders leagues will draw in 2019. It seems unlikely that there will be any betting on at least the early stages of the tournament.
But by the time The Gauntlet rolls around, who knows? With it running at the same time as the Overwatch League many teams will be looking to their development teams for a change after poor starts to the season. This means more eyes than ever will be on the Contenders league as the next star is born.
Contenders League prize money
There will be more than USD $3 million in prizes given out during the 2019 Contender League. This shows just how serious esports in general is becoming, when a feeder league has such large purses.
- The Atlantic and Pacific showdowns have a prize pool of $125,000.
- The Gauntlet will have a $250,000 prize pool