Activision Blizzard’s (ATVI - Free Report) upcoming Overwatch League, a professional competition centered on its popular Overwatch first-person shooter, has settled on a set of regulations and standards for player signings and salaries, the company announced Wednesday.
League officials and team owners have agreed to a minimum salary of $50,000 per year for players. All contracts will last for one year and include a second-year option, and players will be entitled to housing, health insurance, and retirement benefits.
On top of these mandatory minimum contracts, there will be $3.5 million worth of bonuses available in the first season, with the winning team earning at least $1 million.
The window for teams to sign talent will open on August 1 and last through October 30. Blizzard said that it considers all of the more than 30 million active Overwatch players to be potential free agents, as long as players do not already have binding contracts to another league.
While the league has no official start date yet, it has already attracted seven teams, who, according to ESPN, collectively agreed to a $20 million buy-in price. These teams include ownership from the NFL’s New England Patriots and the MLB’s New York Mets, as well as the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and Miami Heat.
An agreement on a decent starting salary, as well as team-sponsored housing and other benefits, works to legitimize Blizzard’s Overwatch League, which promises to be one of the biggest esports competitions in the world.
Esports is a growing industry with tons of room for growth, and publisher-backed leagues will likely become the business model going forward. According to research from Newzoo, worldwide esports-related revenue is expected to hit $1.1 billion by 2019, which would represent more than 100% growth from its 2016 total.
For more on how to profit from this boom industry, check out our guide: Esports Is The Next Billion Dollar Industry: 3 Stocks to Watch.
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