Blizzard announced several major changes to Overwatch Contenders for 2019, including the reduction from 12 teams to eight in most regions.
However, an additional division will be created in North America, where there will now be NA West and NA East regions, each with eight teams. The structure for the China division has yet to be announced.
Tuesday's announcement came after several of the changes were leaked by VPEsports.com, including a recording of a meeting between league operations and team managers. Blizzard did not confirm reports that it will also eliminate offline playoffs in the future.
In an attempt to encourage teams to sign local talent after Lucky Future Zenith dominated Season 1 and 2 this year, Blizzard is also introducing a soft region lock that will restrict teams to a maximum of three import slots.
Overwatch League academy teams will be guaranteed a spot in their respective Contenders divisions, while those not affiliated with an OWL franchise may have to re-qualify.
--Field Level Media