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Overwatch League to Play First Regular Season Games Outside Blizzard Arena in 2019

As the Overwatch League prepares to enter its second season, the 2019 schedule revealed that select games will be hosted by three of its teams for the first time. That trio consists of the Dallas Fuel, the Atlanta Reign, and the Los Angeles Valiant.

In last year’s inaugural season, all Overwatch League matches were held at Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles, except the Grand Finals, which were played in Barclays Center in NYC. The Dallas Fuel will be the first team to host a regular season event outside Blizzard Arena when eight teams come to North Texas to compete at The Allen Event Center in Allen, Texas, on Apr. 27-28. Four matches will be played on both the Saturday and Sunday of the event.

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“It is an honor to have Dallas selected as the first team to bring Overwatch League matches into a home market,” said Mike Rufail, owner of the Dallas Fuel, in a press release. “I know our home crowd will want to be a big part of this experience and fans from all around the world will have a chance to make esports history with us in North Texas.”

The Allen Event Center can seat up to 6,275 guests. According to Dallas Fuel’s press release, the event is expected to draw the largest crowd ever for an Overwatch League live regular season match. Blizzard Arena seats just about 450 fans at maximum capacity. The weekend competition in Dallas will include autograph signings with Overwatch League teams and players, sponsor exhibitions, and family-friendly activations.

“This is going to be an incredible weekend on a number of levels. Local gaming enthusiasts are going to get a can’t-miss event in their backyard, Overwatch fans will have the opportunity to travel to North Texas for a historic weekend of matchups, and the streaming audience from around the world will get to join in on the excitement,” said Geoff Moore, president of the Dallas Fuel, in the press release.

The 2019 Overwatch League schedule shows the Atlanta Reign will be next to host a regular season weekend homestand Jul. 6-7, though a venue location has yet to be announced. On Aug. 24-25, the Los Angeles Valiant will host a weekend series at The Novo by Microsoft indoor arena in downtown LA.

SportTechie Takeaway

Having teams host games in local stadiums to create the feel of “home” and “away” games is one of the major changes coming to the Overwatch League in 2019. The league has also expanded from 12 to 20 teams and increased its prize pool from $3.5 million to $5 million.

The Allen Event Center was likely chosen over the new Esports Stadium Arlington since the stadium in Arlington currently seats about 3,700 less fans than the venue in Allen. However, the Esports Stadium Arlington is specifically designed for esports whereas the Allen Event Center will have to be retrofitted to meet the standards required for an esports event.

Read more: sporttechie.com

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