SANTA MONICA (dpa-AFX) - The inaugural season of Activision Blizzard's (ATVI) Overwatch League kicked off on Wednesday, heralding a new era in eSports. The Overwatch League is a professional eSports league for the video game 'Overwatch,' developed by Blizzard Entertainment.
The Overwatch League, a big bet by Activision Blizzard on the rapidly growing eSports industry, is the first major global professional eSports league with city-based teams across Asia, Europe and North America.
It aims to follow the model of traditional North American professional sports leagues by using a set of permanent teams and regular season play, comparable to the NBA or NFL.
The competition is organized by cities. For the first season, twelve franchises are representing major cities around the globe.
All games of the inaugural season will take place at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles, a live-event venue in Burbank, California that has been custom-renovated for Blizzard Entertainment eSports events.
The first regular-season games started on Wednesday, with the Pacific Division teams facing off. San Francisco Shock took on Los Angeles Valiant, while Shanghai Dragons faced Los Angeles Gladiators, and Dallas Fuel locked horns with Seoul Dynasty.
The Atlantic Division teams will take the stage at the Blizzard Arena Los Angeles on Thursday. The first season of the Overwatch League will run until June, with playoffs and finals scheduled for July.
The games will be broadcast on Amazon's Twitch, in addition to OverwatchLeague.com, MLG.com, the MLG app, and the new Overwatch League companion app.
ZhanQi TV, NetEase CC, and Panda TV are expected to be the official broadcasting platforms of the Overwatch League in China.
Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, told CNBC that while his company is seeing a lot of traction and enthusiasm from fans regarding the league, it may take a while to see its impact on the company's bottom line.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX