Blizzard has announced a list of new roster rules and dates for the Overwatch League and Contenders.
As soon as the #OWL2018 Grand Finals are over, teams will need to prepare for the 2019 season and beyond. With that in mind, the League has set up guidelines for roster construction.— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) June 14, 2018
Details: https://t.co/z3padUQf5T pic.twitter.com/ibrgIGiubZ
Overwatch League teams will be able to negotiate with current players to extend their contracts beginning August 1; any player that hasn't resigned by September 9 will become a free agent. Expansion teams will have exclusive rights to negotiate with free agents from September 9 to October 7, and free agency opens to all teams on October 8. Teams may now negotiate contracts up to three years in length.
Overwatch League teams must now have a minimum roster size of eight players in the second season of the Overwatch League. Players born before May 1, 2001 will also be eligible to sign with Overwatch League teams next season.
The buyout fee for Contenders players will no longer be fixed at 25% of the player's average annual salary, but will now be negotiable to a cap of 100% of the player's salary. There will also be blackout windows on signing Contenders players meant to minimize roster changes directly before and during Contenders playoffs. Additionally, teams can now only have a maximum of eight players on their Contenders rosters.
The Overwatch League is also introducing "two-way players" who can compete in both the Overwatch League and their team's Contenders academy team. A team can only have a max of four two-way players per stage, to be submitted to Blizzard prior to the beginning of each stage. Two-way players will count to the Overwatch League roster limit and Contenders roster limit on weeks in which they participate. A maximum of two two-way players can compete in any given Contenders match and no player can compete in both Overwatch League and Contenders matches the same week. Players lose their ability to be designated as two-way players if they appear in more than two matches in a stage.