The Overwatch League released news Tuesday that the playoffs and grand finals will take place in Arlington, Texas, and Los Angeles, California, respectively, and both events will have a live audience.
The double-elimination playoffs bracket will take place Sept. 16-19 at Esports Stadium Arlington, and the grand finals will be hosted at the Galen Center in LA on Sept. 25.
Tickets for these events go on sale in August, but there are no indications of price range or what packages will be available for fans to purchase. In the past, OWL grand finals events have included ticket packages that include official merchandise, player greetings and other perks.
Eight teams will qualify for the playoffs. The three teams that finish the regular season with the highest amount of League Points will qualify for the playoff bracket for the West Region. For the East Region, the two teams with the highest regular season League Points will earn spots.
The higher a team is seeded, the more benefits it will enjoy, which includes byes, choice of opponent for the first round of the playoffs and opening map selection.
The last three spots will be determined through an online single-elimination regional play-in. These matches will take place on Sept. 4-5.
In the West Region, the fourth through ninth seeds will compete for two of the three additional spots, and in the East Region, one additional spot will be up for grabs.
Grand finals 2021
Two teams will travel to LA to compete in the grand finals at the Galen Center. Whoever wins will take home $1.5 million and the championship trophy. The prize for the second place team is $700,000, and third through eighth place have prizes ranging from $350,000 to $50,000.
This event will be one of the first in-person esports events in the United States since March 2020. Blizzard’s other prominent esports title Call of Duty is also having a live championship event at the Galen Center in August, and League of Legends is having its LCS Championships in Newark, New Jersey, in August.
Vice president of esports Jon Spector told fans early in the season that there was a possibility of a return to live events, and that the league was delaying the start of the fourth season with the hope of having the grand finals take place in-person.
Live OWL events have taken place in China, and the Dallas Fuel recently hosted fans for an in-person competition, but this will be the first leaguewide in-person competition.
Which teams will qualify for OWL playoffs?
The Countdown Cup is the last tournament that teams will compete in before the playoffs, and the stakes will be high for teams who haven’t been performing well, since their seeding depends on overall rankings in addition to the League Points.
The Shanghai Dragons and Dallas Fuel are sure to appear in the playoffs with the amount of League Points they’ve accumulated so far. The Dragons have accumulated 18 League Points, and the Fuel have 15. The teams with the highest points behind them are the San Francisco Shock, Houston Outlaws, Seoul Dynasty and Chengdu Hunters, all with nine League Points.
Based on standings and League Points, fans might see the Los Angeles Gladiators, Washington Justice, Atlanta Reign, Philadelphia Fusion and Hangzhou Spark in the playoffs as well.
The Countdown Cup begins July 30, and by the end of August, fans will know who will be participating in the playoffs in Arlington.
Lead image credit: Overwatch League