A copy of the Overwatch League’s official rulebook has been leaked online, published by esports journalist Richard Lewis on March 23.
The 35-page document covers everything from the Overwatch League’s streaming policy to its rights to player likenesses, backstory, and public persona. There’s a clause in the Overwatch League handbook that even grants the Overwatch League office the ability to put 24/7 cameras in team houses, training facilities, and “other locations frequented by team members”—anywhere but the bathroom.
It’s unclear if this is the most up-to-date copy of the rules—Lewis’ copy is labeled “Version 1.0.” Lewis noted on his site that “at least one” rule has been changed since the rules were passed out. The rulebook itself states that the Overwatch League can “update, supplement, or otherwise modify” its policies “at any time in its sole discretion.” Dot Esports has reached out to Blizzard for more information.
A summary of the Overwatch League’s Code of Conduct was published by Blizzard in late February. Player behavior has been a constant source of struggle for the Overwatch League, with multiple players and coaching staff suspended and fined for breaking the rules. The document published by Lewis expands on the previously released Code of Conduct summary, but still lacks a detailed account of the league’s punishment process.
Much of the document mirrors other documents already available to the public, like the Overwatch Contenders rulebook. But the Overwatch League document leads off with a “Streaming Policy,” which regulates player behavior while streaming. Overwatch League players can stream, but there are rules for times when players can’t stream (one hour before or after an Overwatch League event) and what they can stream (non-Blizzard games are allowed, as long as a player isn’t endorsing it).
Overwatch League commissioner Nate Nanzer described the Overwatch League rulebook as a “pretty standard issue thing.” He told Dot Esports that the rulebook is considered a “living document that will continue to evolve over time.”
Update, March 24 at 3pm CT: Blizzard issued a statement to Dot Esports.
“The league rules, which include the code of conduct, is a living document created with input from teams and players. They’ve had a copy of the rules doc since the inception of the league, and we posted a summary of it on overwatchleague.com back on Feb. 20. Being a living doc, it’s evolved over time based on active and extensive private discussions with the teams. As with other professional leagues, we don’t discuss line-by-line rules matters publicly, but if you have any questions about the rules, we refer you to the summary we posted several weeks ago.”