The Overwatch League has announced changes to roster rules for the end of the 2020 season as well as new rules for roster construction heading into the 2021 season.
The Overwatch League announced that teams can sign free agents with citizenship to a country in Asia or an existing visa to travel to countries in Asia if a player from their team retires, becomes unavailable to play due to COVID-19, or elect not to travel between now and the end of the season. Any player signed at this point in the season must become a free agent in the upcoming offseason.
Teams must have at least seven players signed to season-long contracts in the 2021 season. Teams can also sign players to 30-day contracts in the 2021 season -- much like the 14-day contracts introduced this season -- if the team has at least seven players signed to their roster already.
The league will also do away with limiting the number of two-way players signed to a team at any given time. Overwatch League teams without academy teams are allowed to loan two-way players to Contenders team as approved by the league. Any two-way player that does not play in five consecutive OWL matches for their team over a period of at least three consecutive weeks will be eligible to participate in Contenders or third-party tournaments. Up to four two-way players are allowed to compete together on the same Contenders roster.
Overwatch League Vice President Jon Spector explained in his own tweet that Overwatch League teams are no longer forced to guarantee all contracts to encourage more teams to take chance on unproven players. He said players can still negotiate for contract guarantees if they choose to.
Spector also explained that the league has been dissatisfied with the amount of players who have played in both the Overwatch League and Contenders in the same season and want to give more opportunities for players who would otherwise be on the bench to play. He believes the changes made to the two-way system will encourage more teams to utilize two-way players and give them a chance to compete.
Additionally, the league has listed key dates:
- Sept. 14, 2020: Teams may sign free agents not under contract to any team and may extend contracts of players currently on their roster for the 2020 season.
- Sept. 21, 2020: Teams hat have been eliminated from the playoffs may discuss 2021 contract terms with players with expiring contracts. A player cannot sign with one of these teams until the player's current team declines to extend their existing contract.
- Oct. 12, 2020: Teams may begin submitting player trades for review.
- Oct. 23-Nov. 20, 2020: Any players not under contract for the 2021 season become free agents. The specific expiration date is dependent on the season in which their contract was first signed.
- Nov. 23, 2020: Deadline for all teams to have a minimum of seven players signed to season-long contracts for the 2021 season. Trade window opens.