Overwatch League’s second season will have new venues to go along with its new teams.
The addition of the league’s first “away games” is a major change from the Overwatch League’s first season, in which every regular season contest was held at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank.
The Los Angeles Valiant, Atlanta Reign, and Dallas Fuel will all be hosting games in their home cities in 2019.
Valiant already have the Microsoft Theater at LA Live in downtown Los Angeles as their official location. In the spring of last year, the Dallas Fuel and Houston Outlaws invested in a $10 million project transforming a convention center in Arlington, Texas into an esports stadium.
Other teams throughout the United States have invested in their own venues, including Boston Uprising, New York Excelsior, and the Los Angeles Gladiators, making even more hometown games possible in the near future.
The addition of new tournament cities is in line with the hometown pride the league worked to foster in Season 1. Mirroring traditional sports, Overwatch League teams often embraced the cities they represented, hosting fan meets and viewing parties for locals.
The Overwatch League previously used the idea of multiple tournament locations to sell the league’s potential to traditional sports team owners, such as Boston Uprising owner the Kraft Group.
Last year, league commissioner Nate Nanzer announced that the OWL planned to have home games starting in 2020. But it appears this idea is already coming to fruition. Nanzer spoke to that effort during the league’s annual preview stream.
“The number one thing we’re working on at the league office is getting our teams into their home markets, and moving closer to what our vision for Overwatch League is, which is full home and away. Every game is played in a home stadium,” Nanzer said.