The upcoming Overwatch League has adopted new regulations and standards around player signings and salaries, the league's developer Blizzard Entertainment announced Wednesday.
The league and its team owners have agreed to a minimum salary of $50,000 per year for players. Overwatch League contracts will last for one guaranteed year and have a second-year option. Players will also be entitled to employer-sponsored housing, health insurance and a retirement savings plan.
Existing contracts in the Overwatch scene will not be valid for the league, meaning teams that participate in the Overwatch League will have to sign their players to new contracts. These players will also have to sign a contract with Blizzard.
Teams will have a designated player signing window from Aug. 1 through Oct. 30 to sign talent. Blizzard said that it considers all 30 million-plus Overwatch players as free agents who can be signed by any team, assuming they do not have binding contracts elsewhere.
Unlike other professional esports leagues, such as the League of Legends Championship Series, there will be no region locking around talent. International players will be able to compete in leagues outside of their home country without any limit.
Players will also be entitled to 50 percent of performance bonuses earned by teams. There will be $3.5 million in bonuses available in Season 1, with the winner of the season earning a minimum of $1 million. Blizzard did not specify the other methods for obtaining performance bonuses.
The Overwatch League does not have a publicly announced start date. Blizzard announced in November at its annual BlizzCon event that it will launch in fiscal quarter three of 2017, but sources told ESPN it's more realistic to expect the league to launch around the winter, in the fourth quarter.
The Overwatch League currently consists of seven teams, who collectively agreed for a $20 million buy-in price, sources close to those parties and Blizzard told ESPN. These teams include ownership from the New England Patriots, the New York Mets, the Sacramento Kings and the Miami Heat.