Overwatch Contenders ending South American program in 2021

Teams may still be able to qualify for Contenders events in the future.

Photo by Robert Paul via Blizzard Entertainment

In an update to fans about the organization’s 2021 plans, the Overwatch Path to Pro team announced today that it’s ending the Overwatch Contenders program in South America this year. 

The organization made the “difficult decision” because the program “hasn’t been performing to the level we expect,” said Dan McHugh, a representative for the Overwatch Path to Pro team, in a Reddit post. McHugh said that for future international events, the organization is looking to qualify South American teams “through means outside of the Contenders program,” likely third-party tournaments. 

South America is normally one of six regions that participate in the Overwatch Contenders program, alongside North America, Europe, Korea, China, and Australia. Last year, the Pacific Overwatch Contenders circuit, which served countries like Singapore and Indonesia, was dropped in a similar manner.    

In the future, the Contenders organization will be “evaluating how to make it easier for third party tournament organizers to successfully operate independent events inside their regions,” referring to South America and the Pacific region. This process begins with easing commercialization restrictions for those regions, according to the update.

Over the past few years, talented South American Contenders teams have entertained fans and developed their own style of play within Overwatch. While some teams have found success, like the 2020 South American Gauntlet champions War Pigs, it’s rarely transferred to the Overwatch League.

Main support Renan “alemao” Moretto formerly played for the Boston Uprising and was the only league player to ever come from the South American Contenders circuit.  

In 2021, the Overwatch Contenders program will again split the year into two separate seasons for its remaining regions. While details weren’t shared in this update, Trials qualification matches will begin in March.