Barclays Center to host Overwatch League finals

The 19,000-person-capacity Barclays Center will host the inaugural Overwatch League grand finals, Blizzard Entertainment announced on Wednesday. 

The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, will host the inaugural grand finals of the Overwatch League on July 27-28, Blizzard Entertainment and Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment announced on Wednesday. The Barclays Center, home to the Brooklyn Nets and New York Islanders, has a capacity of about 19,000.

“We had two criteria,” Overwatch League commissioner Nate Nanzer told ESPN.com. “To hold the finals in a main global city and at a world-class venue.”

The grand finals will mark the culmination of four five-week stages and playoffs, and the winning team will collect $1 million. Tickets go on sale May 19 for the grand finals.

“We are thrilled to host the inaugural Overwatch League grand finals, as we are quickly becoming a marquee destination for global esports leagues,” Brett Yormark, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, told ESPN.com. “This past year, the Overwatch League became the breakout league in the sports industry, and we anticipate drawing a dynamic international audience to experience the event live in July.”

Nanzer added that the Overwatch League had always planned to hold a large-scale grand finals, and while the success of the New York Excelsior was not a factor in deciding to go to New York, it has additional potential of bringing the New York team to its home turf given how strong the NYXL has looked in every stage. “Of all the fans of the teams, the NYXL have been some of the most passionate,” Nanzer said.

The NYXL is fresh off of a dominant Stage 3 finals victory over the Boston Uprising on Sunday, the team’s second stage finals win and third stage finals appearance. NYXL also is the only team to already have clinched a playoff spot, and it sits atop the overall league standings with a 23-7 match record and plus-68 map differential.

The grand finals will include two days of best-of-five matches between the two to-be-decided Overwatch League finalists. On July 27, the first best-of-five will be played. The second series, and a third if necessary, will be played July 28.

Next week, the Overwatch League will kick off its fourth and final stage of regular-season play at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California. Playoffs will begin in Burbank on July 11, with the six top teams in the league facing off.

Blizzard’s announcement comes on the heels of two other major North American venue announcements in esports. On Monday, Riot Games announced that Oracle Arena, home of the Golden State Warriors, in Oakland, California, will be the site of its 2018 North American League Championship Series Summer Finals on Sept. 8-9, and Valve Corp. announced that The International Dota 2 Championships will be staged at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Aug. 20-25. Rogers Arena is the home of the Vancouver Canucks.

“You only get one opportunity to be the first,” Keith Sheldon, executive vice president of programming for Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, said of bringing the inaugural Overwatch League final to the city. “We’re very grateful.”

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