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The Overwatch League has announced their 2023 season format, with two global LAN tournaments and Contenders teams fighting in both divisions. While official league games will start on April 27, the Western Pro-Am with both Overwatch League and Contenders teams starts on March 23.

Overwatch League links with Contenders

Out of all the changes coming to the 2023 format, the biggest one revolves around Contenders.

Known as the league below the Overwatch League, there’s been a lot of talent joining teams straight from Contenders over recent years. From RunAway to American Tornado, fans have wondered if those competitive rosters could compete against Overwatch League rosters. For 2023, we will see just that.

The connection between Contenders and the league is different for the two divisions. For the West, it all revolves around the Pro-Am that starts on March 23. Contenders teams will compete in tournaments in late February, to qualify for the Pro-Am. Then, mixed in with the Western Overwatch League teams, there will be a group of twenty rosters competing in a group stage format.

After that, four groups of five teams will compete for two weeks, with the top two teams from each group qualifying for the single-elimination knockout tournament stage. Whoever wins will take home $100,000 USD and bragging rights before the official season begins.

Overwatch League 2023 schedule format
The Overwatch League 2023 format and schedule. | Provided by Activision-Blizzard.

As for the East, they will have similar Contenders tournaments to find out which teams qualify for the Overwatch League. They will not have a Pro-Am, with the qualified teams making a group of twelve. Then, that group of Contenders teams will fight starting in the Spring Stage Opens alongside the Spring Stage Qualifiers for the Overwatch League teams. That will lead to qualified teams from both the Contenders tournament and the Overwatch League tournament representing the East at the Midseason Madness LAN.

For both divisions, those Contenders teams’ performances in the Spring Stage will determine their qualification into the Summer Stage.

Other notable changes for 2023

Some other changes coming to the Overwatch League for 2023 include:

  • No more league points for qualification to tournaments, just focusing on overall record in regional qualifiers
  • Summer Stage will mirror Spring Stage leading into season playoffs and Grand Finals
  • Two teams have rebranded for 2023, with the Seoul Infernal (formerly Philadelphia Fusion) and Vegas Eternal (formerly Paris Eternal)
  • Calling All Heroes will continue, update coming soon