Recently at a roadshow of sorts, Nate Nanzer of the Blizzard esports team unpacked plans for the preliminary Overwatch League to prospective owners and investors. While the entirety of what occurred has not yet been publicly divulged, owners did share pictures of some of the slides with resident community member Slasher, who promptly posted the details he learned on Twitter.
Overwatch League Commissioner Nate Nanzer proposes 16 local team cities for OWL esports that includes 11 in NA, 3 in EU, 2 in Asia.— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) 22 March 2017
The screencap itself is particularly interesting because it lists 16 prominent cities: 11 in North America, 3 in Europe, and 2 in Asia. While the imbalanced region representation generated massive uproar, the slide notably had a disclaimer in the bottom right corner: "Illustrative Cities and Locations."
Perhaps one of the reasons that so many were ready to believe the listing was final was that these locations are reasonable in terms of funding. While China would be misrepresented (their esports market is incredibly inflated), North America, Europe, and Korea would all be proportionally represented according to many esports veterans. However, many are worried that skill is not proportionally represented, though we do know that region locking will not be a factor.
Nate Nanzer later confirmed that the slideshow was only depicting an idea used for the purpose of educating attendees, and was certainly not confirmation of anything, but the question remains: why these cities? The previous belief was that 2017 would see an American Overwatch League which would serve as a preliminary season, while Korea would continue with OGN and China would go through their now-revealed Overwatch Premier Series.
With European teams moving over to American cities (think Rogue to Las Vegas), the overwhelming belief was that all teams keen on participating would need to relocate to North America. The slideshow calls this notion into question given the international locations.
Of course, it's hard to draw any real conclusions from the picture, especially when so little information has left the meeting itself. The cities listed could potentially just be locations for Overwatch League slots in future years; they could also end up being the represented cities for the first year of play. Some seem to believe that the worldwide locations might simply represent name only, while a LAN league akin to League of Legends' LCS would form.
However, the information ends there, while the speculation begins. Given the lack of information from all parties involved, all the public can do is wait.