Blizzard Changes Overwatch League Community Tournament Overlap Rules
Even before the Overwatch League was announced, community-run Overwatch tournaments have kept the E-sports scene going. Unfortunately the appreciation doesn’t seem to be shared by Blizzard, as new tournament rules have been announced that prevent ANY event from running at the same time as an official OWL game!
According to the newly updated guidelines, There are now even more stringent rules for what an event is allowed to do.
To meet the community tournament criteria, it must be a standalone event, with prize pool and appearance fees under $10,000. The total prize pool for the organiser’s Overwatch events must be less than $50,000 across the year, the tournament name must have “community” in it somewhere, and contributions from sponsors must be less than $1,000 per sponsor, per event. On top of these already strict rules, there are even rules about who is allowed to sponsor the Overwatch event.
EACH COMMUNITY COMPETITION CANNOT BE SPONSORED BY ANY COMPANIES THAT SELL OR PROMOTE ATHLETIC WEAR/APPAREL, ENERGY DRINKS AND SOFT DRINKS, PAYMENT SERVICES AND COMPUTER MONITORS, CPUS, AND GRAPHICS CARDS.”
This is a major blow to funding events, as many e-sports community events gain sponsors such as computer manufacturers and energy drinks companies in order to get the necessary funds to run the event. On top of this, some of Blizzard’s additional criteria states: “Overwatch community tournament organisers will now have to make sure that there is no overlap in broadcast with any of our official Blizzard-owned Overwatch tournaments.”
While a rule in regards to sponsorship could be seen as Blizzard protecting the legitimacy of their “Official” league, the rule in regards to overlap is heavily binding to the community, as it basically monopolizes the Overwatch E-sports scene to the Overwatch League. This could be seen as a way for them to prevent any sense of investor remorse, as the OWL requires a steep $20 million buy-in price. Whether or not this will be removed after backlash will have to be seen, as at the end of the day it’s Blizzards game to do with as they please.
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