Earlier this month, Blizzard announced the cities and owners of the first seven teams that will take part in its upcoming Overwatch League. Today it revealed a more detailed look at how those teams will be built, including which players are eligible to be signed and how much they can expect to make on the job.
The potential pool of free agents includes, literally, just about everyone who plays Overwatch. "All 30 million+ Overwatch players (that are of majority age and otherwise eligible to play) are considered potential free agents with respect to the Overwatch League," Blizzard said. Players from other leagues and non-OWL teams are eligible to sign with the new league, but interestingly, players from established Overwatch teams, including any that may belong to esports organizations in the League (Immortals, NRG, and Misfits all have Overwatch teams) will not be automatically signed up: OWL team building will take place completely independently of any existing roster, presumably to ensure that all teams comply with Blizzard's unique league requirements.
Teams will have from August 1 to October 30 to sign players, but Blizzard noted that this system will be unique to the first season. "In future seasons, the pre-season player signing process will be updated to serve the needs of an established league, its teams, players, and fans," it said. Players will be given a one-year guaranteed contract, with an option for a second-year extension, and will be paid a minimum of $50,000 per year. They'll also be provided with health insurance and a retirement savings plan, and will receive a minimum of 50 percent of their "team performance bonus," such as prize money.
Each team in the Overwatch League must carry at least six players and no more than 12, and there is no "region locking" in terms of player eligibility: As long as a player meets the legal requirements to take part in the league, they can play for whoever they like. Blizzard also stipulated that teams must provide housing and practice facilities during the season, "which will meet professional standards set by the Overwatch League."
Blizzard still hasn't confirmed how many teams will actually play in the first season of the Overwatch League, saying only that it is "in active conversations" with other interested organizations. The league also doesn't yet have a solid start date, but is currently scheduled to get underway later this year.