In an Overwatch League press release, the "Path to Pro" for aspiring competitive Overwatch players was announced. Start dates and details were laid out for both Overwatch Contenders and the Open Division.
The next season of Overwatch Contenders will begin in March of 2018. There will be three seasons per year in a total of seven regions.
Multiple existing tournaments will be absorbed into the Contenders ecosystem. OGN APEX will become Contenders Korea, The Overwatch Pacific Championship will become Contenders Pacific, and the Overwatch Premier Series will become Contenders China. Australia and South America will be added as new Contenders regions. North America and Europe, the original regions, will remain.
For qualifiers, the new regions will hold open tournaments for entry, similar to Contenders Season Zero in North America and Europe. For each existing region or tournament, six or more of the top teams will be invited to participate in their respective region's Contenders tournament.
Contenders will continue to not be region-locked. Online matches will be hosted on their respective region's server. It was not announced whether the existing offline tournaments, OGN APEX and the Overwatch Pacific Championship, will continue to operate with LAN play, or if they are to move to online matches.
For each Contenders region, an Open Division will be operated. In line with changes made for previous seasons, there will not be a minimum rank to play in the tournament. The first season of Open Division with a path into Contenders will begin in January 2018.
At the conclusion of Contenders seasons, the top four teams in each region's Open Division will be invited to play against their region's bottom four Contenders teams in a Contenders Trials tournament. Contenders Trials will be played for both promotion-relegation into and out of Contenders proper, as well as prize money. The first Contenders Trials will begin February 2018.
More details on both Contenders and the Open Division will be announced in December.
A previous version of this article mentioned that the state of the minimum rank requirement for Open Division was unclear. This was changed to reflect a tweet from @PlayOverwatch.