Overwatch League™ Set to Kick Off 2019 Season with Eight New Teams from Asia, Europe, and North America

The 2019 season gets underway on Feb. 14 with a full slate of games,
including a Grand Finals rematch between the Philadelphia Fusion and the
defending champion London Spitfire

New broadcast partners and enhanced viewing technology via the
Overwatch League Twitch All-Access Pass and multi-view Command Center
will elevate the fan viewing experience

IRVINE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–lt;a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/OWL2019?src=hash” target=”_blank”gt;#OWL2019lt;/agt;–The Overwatch League™ returns to action today for the official start of
the 2019 season. This season, 20 teams will compete for the league
championship and a share of the US $5 million prize pool. The world’s
first major global esports league with city-based teams will be even
more fan-friendly, with more ways to watch via enhanced viewing
technology through the Twitch All-Access Pass program, expanded
broadcast and digital distribution, and a brand-new online shop loaded
with team and player merchandise.

“We’ve added eight new teams and nearly 100 new players to the Overwatch
League, and we’re really excited to see the influx of new talent and to
see how teams approach the daunting task of winning the league
championship,” said Nate Nanzer, Overwatch League commissioner. “Look
for the quality of play to rise as the league continues to get even more
competitive. The talents of our extraordinary players are going to be on
display for the world to see. Come watch with the best of us!”

The opening week of matches will feature all 20 teams in action and will
include a rematch of the 2018 Grand Finals showdown between the
Philadelphia Fusion and defending champion London Spitfire, as well as
the debuts of all eight new Overwatch League teams. The full slate of
matches includes:

Thursday, Feb. 14

  • Philadelphia Fusion vs. London Spitfire, 4 p.m. PST
  • New York Excelsior vs. Boston Uprising, 5:30 p.m. PST
  • Seoul Dynasty vs. Los Angeles Gladiators, 7 p.m. PST
  • Shanghai Dragons vs. Hangzhou Spark, 8:30 p.m. PST

Friday, Feb. 15

  • Toronto Defiant vs. Houston Outlaws, 4 p.m. PST
  • Atlanta Reign vs. Florida Mayhem, 5:30 p.m. PST
  • Dallas Fuel vs. San Francisco Shock, 7 p.m. PST
  • Chengdu Hunters vs. Guangzhou Charge, 8:30 p.m. PST

Saturday, Feb. 16

  • London Spitfire vs. Paris Eternal, 12 p.m. PST
  • Washington Justice vs. New York Excelsior, 1:30 p.m. PST
  • Los Angeles Valiant vs. Hangzhou Spark, 3 p.m. PST
  • Vancouver Titans vs. Shanghai Dragons, 4:30 p.m. PST

Sunday, Feb. 17

  • Houston Outlaws vs. Boston Uprising, 12 p.m. PST
  • Philadelphia Fusion vs. Atlanta Reign, 1:30 p.m. PST
  • San Francisco Shock vs. Los Angeles Gladiators, 3 p.m. PST
  • Seoul Dynasty vs. Dallas Fuel, 4:30 p.m. PST

Fans will be able to watch Overwatch League matches in a number of ways
and in additional locations for 2019. Linear and digital broadcast
platforms include:

  • Overwatch League: All matches will be available on
    overwatchleague.com and the Overwatch League app, MLG.com and the MLG
    app (excluding matches on Saturday, Sunday, and other days which are
    exclusive to Twitch), Blizzard Battle.net, and Overwatch game-client
    viewers.
  • Twitch: All 2019 Overwatch League matches will be available on
    Twitch platforms, including Twitch.tv, the Twitch mobile app, and
    Twitch apps on game consoles and TV devices. Working together with
    Twitch, the Overwatch League just launched a new and improved All-Access
    Pass membership
    . This year, All-Access passholders can customize
    their match-viewing experience with the multi-view Command Center,
    represent their favorite players with gear and skins, and engage more
    directly with Overwatch League players and the fan community.
  • Twitter: Will host livestreaming of daily Watchpoint shows
    immediately before and after the match schedule on match days, as well
    as a selection of Overwatch League clips from live matches.
  • China: All matches will be available on overwatchleague.cn and
    the Overwatch League app. Zhanqi.tv, NetEase CC, Bilibili, and Huya
    and will air matches on their respective branded platforms.
  • France: Mediawan will show league highlights on the Mangas
    Network.
  • Germany: Sport1 will air live matches on Esports1 and league
    highlights on Sport1.
  • North America: All 2019 regular-season Overwatch League matches
    will be available to watch on the ESPN app. Three matches per week
    will air on Disney XD: the final match of each Thursday, which begins
    at 8:30 p.m. PST, as well as the first two matches each Sunday, which
    begin at noon and 1:30 p.m. PST. Select matches also will air on ABC
    and ESPN2. The Stage 1 and 2 Playoffs and the All-Star Game will air
    on ABC. ESPN2 will carry the Stage 3 Finals.

“We set a new bar last season in standing up the first major global
city-based esports league,” said Pete Vlastelica, president and CEO of
Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues. “This season, we’re going to raise
the bar again with a focus on fan affinity, making it even easier for
the Overwatch League community to watch how they want and where they
want.”

The majority of Overwatch League matches will be played at Blizzard
Arena Los Angeles this season, but during the regular season, the league
will be on the road for the 2019 Homestand Weekends. Homestand Weekend
events, where home teams will officially host the matches, are scheduled
for Dallas, Atlanta, and Los Angeles as follows:

  • April 27–28: The Dallas Fuel will host the Chengdu Hunters,
    Hangzhou Spark, Houston Outlaws, London Spitfire, Los Angeles Valiant,
    Paris Eternal, and Seoul Dynasty at the Allen Event Center in Allen,
    Texas.
  • July 6–7: The Atlanta Reign will host the Florida Mayhem,
    Guangzhou Charge, New York Excelsior, Philadelphia Fusion, Shanghai
    Dragons, Toronto Defiant, and Washington Justice.
  • August 24–25: The Los Angeles Valiant will host the Atlanta
    Reign, Boston Uprising, Dallas Fuel, Hangzhou Spark, Los Angeles
    Gladiators, New York Excelsior, San Francisco Shock, Shanghai Dragons,
    and Vancouver Titans at The Novo by Microsoft at L.A. Live in Los
    Angeles, Calif.

The prize pool for the 2019 season is now $5 million—up from $3.5
million in 2018—and will be allocated to teams based on playoff success:

  • The Stage Playoffs will be held for Stage 1, 2, and 3. Eight
    teams will qualify, including the two division leaders in that stage,
    along with the next six teams in the stage standings regardless of
    division. The Stage Playoffs prize pool includes $200K for the winner,
    $100K for the runner-up, $50K each for the third- and fourth-place
    teams, and $25K each for fifth through eighth place.
  • The Season Playoffs will feature an expanded field in 2019. For
    the postseason, the two division winners along with the next best four
    teams by record, regardless of division, will automatically qualify.
    Two additional teams will qualify through a play-in tournament between
    the seventh- through 12th-place teams. Those final eight teams will
    compete for the league championship in a double-elimination bracket.
    The Season Playoffs prize pool includes $1.1M for the league champion,
    $600K for the runner-up, $450K for third place, $350K for fourth
    place, $300K each for the fifth- and sixth-place teams, and $200K each
    for the seventh- and eighth-place teams.

Additional details for the 2019 season include:

  • All-Stars: The 2019 Overwatch League All-Star event will be
    held between Stages 2 and 3, a change from the 2018 season when the
    event concluded the season.
  • Overwatch League Shop: Fans will have upgraded shopping options
    this season by virtue of the league’s new licensing deal with
    Fanatics. The recently relaunched Overwatch League shop—shop.overwatchleague.com—is
    loaded with official jerseys, T-shirts, pants, hats, signed
    merchandise, and other team-specific collectibles.
  • State Farm®: Last week the Overwatch League revealed its top-level
    2019 brand sponsors
    , including Coca-Cola, Toyota, HP, Intel, and
    T-Mobile. Today, we’re announcing State Farm as the official North
    American insurance provider of the Overwatch League as part of a
    multi-year sponsorship.

Additional details—including dates, locations, and broadcast
availability—about Homestand Weekends, All-Stars, Season Playoffs, and
the Grand Finals will be announced at a later date.

About the Overwatch League™

The Overwatch League™ is the first major global professional esports
league with city-based teams across Asia, Europe, and North America.
Overwatch® was created by globally acclaimed publisher Blizzard
Entertainment (a division of Activision Blizzard—NASDAQ: ATVI), whose
iconic franchises have helped lay the foundations and push the
boundaries of professional esports over the last 15 years. The latest
addition to Blizzard’s stable of twenty-two #1 games,[1]
Overwatch was built from the ground up for online competition, with
memorable characters and fast-paced action designed for the most
engaging gameplay and spectator experiences. To learn more about the
Overwatch League, visit www.overwatchleague.com.

About Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.

Best known for blockbuster hits including World of Warcraft®,
Hearthstone®, Overwatch®, the Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo®
franchises, and the multi-franchise Heroes of the Storm®, Blizzard
Entertainment, Inc. (https://www.blizzard.com),
a division of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), is a premier developer
and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating some of
the industry’s most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard Entertainment’s
track record includes twenty-two #1 games* and multiple Game of the Year
awards. The company’s online gaming service, Blizzard Battle.net®, is
one of the largest online-gaming services in the world, with millions of
active players.

*Sales and/or downloads, based on internal company records and reports
from key distribution partners.

About Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues

Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues (ABEL) is responsible for the
development and operation of premier Activision Blizzard professional
gaming properties including the Overwatch League™ and the Call of Duty®
World League, as well as the commercialization of the entire Blizzard
Esports portfolio. Launched in 2017, the Overwatch League is the world’s
first major global esports league with city-based teams, with 20 teams
across Asia, Europe, and North America. In 2019, the Call of Duty World
League Presented by PlayStation®4 will deliver five vs. five team play
featuring Call of Duty®: Black Ops 4. It is ABEL’s vision to be the most
innovative, scalable, and valuable developer of global competitive
entertainment.

© 2019 Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. OVERWATCH, OVERWATCH LEAGUE,
BLIZZARD, and BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT are trademarks of Blizzard
Entertainment, Inc., in the United States and/or other countries.

[1] Sales and/or downloads, based on internal company records and
reports from key distribution partners.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements: Information in
this press release that involves Blizzard Entertainment’s expectations,
plans, intentions or strategies regarding the future, including
statements about brand deals, the dates of 2019 Overwatch League season
events, are forward-looking statements that are not facts and involve a
number of risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause Blizzard
Entertainment’s actual future results to differ materially from those
expressed in the forward-looking statements set forth in this release
include unanticipated product delays and other factors identified in the
risk factors sections of Activision Blizzard’s most recent annual report
on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. The
forward-looking statements in this release are based upon information
available to Blizzard Entertainment and Activision Blizzard as of the
date of this release, and neither Blizzard Entertainment nor Activision
Blizzard assumes any obligation to update any such forward-looking
statements. Forward-looking statements believed to be true when made may
ultimately prove to be incorrect. These statements are not guarantees of
the future performance of Blizzard Entertainment or Activision Blizzard
and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which
are beyond its control and may cause actual results to differ materially
from current expectations.

Contacts

Mark Van Lommel
Overwatch League
949-955-1380 x61147
[email protected]

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