Blizzard’s developmental Overwatch league, Overwatch Contenders, will expand to seven regions in 2018.
In March, Blizzard will rebrand existing Overwatch leagues OGN Overwatch Apex, Overwatch Premier Series, and Overwatch Pacific Championship as Contenders Korea, Contenders China, and Contenders Pacific, respectively. Two brand new regions, Australia and South America, will also be added as Contenders tournaments. With North America and Europe, which debuted their first seasons this year, the Contenders series rises to seven regions.
Each region will hold three seasons a year, giving players outside of the Overwatch League a chance to shine.
At least six teams from the existing tournaments—Contenders North America and Europe, Overwatch Apex, Premier Series, and Pacific Championship—will be invited to compete in the new Contenders tournaments in 2018. Australia and South American Contenders teams will have the chance to compete in open qualifier tournaments to gain entry.
Contenders won’t be region-locked, Blizzard said, but all online matches will be played on the respective servers.
Blizzard also announced that its open division tournament will return in January with the same seven regions as Contenders. The top four teams in the Open Division tournaments will be invited to compete in a Contenders Trials tournament—a promotion/relegation tournament for Contenders—to earn a spot in Contenders. The first Contenders Trials tournament is scheduled for February.
More details on the leagues will be released in December, according to Blizzard.