‘Overwatch’ eSports Players Set to Earn as Much as Pro Soccer Athletes

Visitors play the video game "Overwatch" at the 2016 Paris Games Week. Game developer Activision is creating an eSports league around the game

Activision Blizzard announced new details regarding their official Overwatch League, aiming to place talented gamers alongside other professional athletes in status and salary alike.

Since the original announcement of the first seven teams to join the Overwatch League, Activision Blizzard has been exceedingly busy behind the scenes, preparing what could be the biggest professional statement in eSports history.

Not only will players from Boston, Los Angeles, Miami-Orlando, New York City, San Francisco, Seoul, and Shanghai compete for $3.5 million in total bonuses for the inaugural season — including a cool $1 million for the champions — the very best of the player base will be recognized in an official league scouting report. This will allow them to command the kind of salaries that you see in professional soccer — starting at a minimum of $50,000 per year. Teams will also provide housing as well as training facilities.

With the University of Utah providing scholarships to dozens of talented competitors, the trend of younger generations toward digital rather than physical sports, and examples of this growing influence everywhere from Korea to the Netherlands — where the very best players will be made a part of actual soccer clubs — eSports has never looked stronger. Whether it can avoid the pitfalls of professional sports history remains to be seen, but the future is looking particularly bright for gamers with the quickest minds and sharpest reflexes.

Follow Nate Church @Get2Church on Twitter for the latest news in gaming and technology, and snarky opinions on both.

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