Included in the announcement of details for Overwatch's path to pro were the 2018 Contenders Season 1 invitees and the ruleset for 2018's iteration of Contenders. That ruleset included details on contracts, prize pools, and scheduling for the Contenders ecosystem.
All contracts between players and Contenders teams must allow players to negotiate with Overwatch League franchises and will be terminated should a player sign with an Overwatch League team. If a Contenders player is signed into the Overwatch League, the Overwatch League franchise will pay that player's former Contenders organization a transfer fee equal to 25 percent of the player's annual salary and signing bonus.
Each team will earn prizes based on both final standings and games won throughout the season. The competitors in the North American, European, Chinese, and Korean divisions of Contenders will play for a prize pool of $75,000 in each region, with $30,000 of that going to the championship teams. Contenders Pacific will play for $56,250, with $22,500 going to the winning team. In South America and Australia, $18,750 will be on the line, with $7,500 being reserved for the top of the podium. Only playoff teams will earn pieces of these prize pools.
Additionally, each map played during the regular season will have monetary value. Every map won in North America, Europe, China, and Korea will earn the team an additional $587 while every map lost will still grant them another $330. In the Pacific region, map wins will be worth $440 and map losses will still give teams $248. Map wins in South America and Australia will be valued at $147 while losses will be $83. In the event of a tied match, a tiebreaker on Oasis will be played to determine the match's winner, although the tiebreaker map will not be included in the total map wins column of the standings and thus will be not be worth any additional prizing. Teams that tie a map will be given prizes equal to halfway between what they would earn in a loss and a win.
Based on the planned schedule, there will be 20 opportunities for teams to win maps and take home extra cash. Each region will be divided into two groups of six and competitors will play in a single round robin group stage. After each team has played their five regular season matches, the top four of each group will advance into the playoff stage. The top seed in each group will play the bottom seed from the other group, while the second seed will play against the opposite group's third seed.
The first matches of Contenders across the world are set to begin the week of March 5. Before then, expect to see hungry teams worldwide compete for their chance to participate in Contenders by playing through Open Division, beginning in January, and then their respective region's Contenders Trials.