Live events will finally be returning to the Overwatch League when the 2021 postseason begins in September.
The 2021 Overwatch League Grand Finals will be held at the Galen Center in Los Angeles on Sept. 25, the league announced today. A playoff event, held from Sept. 16 to 19, will take place at the Esports Stadium Arlington in Dallas. Tickets for both events will go on sale in August.
Over the past few months, some semblance of normalcy has returned regarding live OWL events, with several successful homestands held in China, hosted by the Shanghai Dragons and Hangzhou Spark. The Dallas Fuel recently held the first North American live event since the COVID-19 pandemic started in March 2020 at the Esports Stadium Arlington.
Located in Los Angeles, the Galen Center is an indoor arena operated by the University of South California. It’s a 255,000 square foot arena that has 10,258 potential seats for fans, though that number may be reduced for the Overwatch League Grand Finals due to possible COVID-19 restrictions.
In addition to announcing the two live events, the Overwatch League has revealed the postseason format and the various ways teams can make it into the playoffs.
The top three teams in the West Region and the top two teams in the East Region, based on “league points” earned through wins or tournament placement, will automatically make it into the playoff bracket. So far, the Dallas Fuel and Shanghai Dragons have already qualified thanks to their multiple tournament appearances. This leaves two spots in the West and one in the East.
A play-in stage is the next step for the remaining teams. The fourth through ninth seeds in the West Region will fight it out for two remaining spots and the third through fifth seeds in the East Region will compete for one additional spot.
Eight teams in total—five from the West Region and three from the East Region—will compete in the postseason bracket. It’ll be a double-elimination bracket that eventually produces two teams ready to face off in the 2021 Grand Finals.
The winner of the Grand Finals will earn the 2021 championship trophy as well as $1.5 million in prize money, while the runner-up will still take home an impressive $750,000. For now, the OWL still has to complete one final tournament cycle to determine seeding based on league points. The Countdown Cup cycle begins on July 30.