Overwatch World Cup: dates, teams, prize pool, and how to watch

From incredible clutch plays to heartbreaking defeats, here's everything we know about the Overwatch World Cup

Team USA celebrating at the Overwatch World Cup

The Overwatch World Cup is one of the most anticipated esports events of the entire year. The competition sees the world’s best Overwatch players put their franchise teams to the back of their minds and represent their country.

The main competition is contested annually at BlizzCon, with preliminary qualifiers being played in the days before. There have been four Overwatch World Cups so far but only two countries have ever won it. South Korea won the first three tournaments, while the USA are the current champions after a surprise victory in 2019.

Of the top ten countries, the five highest-ranked teams receive a bye, sending them straight to the group stage. The remaining five will battle it out with other eligible countries from across the globe.The unseeded countries must form, run and fund their own teams to compete, however we may see this change in the build up to the next tournament after over a dozen teams pulled out of the 2019 World Cup, mainly due to not being able to raise sufficient funds.

When is the Overwatch World Cup?

The Overwatch World Cup normally takes place during BlizzCon, the annual convention held by Overwatch’s developer, Blizzard. Due to the global pandemic, however, there hasn’t been a World Cup since 2019. Senior Manager of League Operations Adam Mierzejewski said Blizzard way eyeing February 2021 as a possibility, but this is no longer the case.

In 2019, the group stage began after the BlizzCon opening ceremony on Friday, with multiple group stage matches being played simultaneously.

The top three teams from each of the two groups then progressed to the single-elimination bracket on Saturday, culminating in the grand final at the end of the day.

Before the main action starts, there will be preliminary qualifiers to determine which five teams will be joining the top five seeded nations, who have received automatic byes into the group stages.

Where is the Overwatch World Cup?

The 2019 Overwatch World Cup took place in Anaheim, California and was held at the Anaheim Convention Center during BlizzCon.

This was the fourth year in a row that Anaheim has played host to the tournament, so it will likely be the same venue when the OWWC returns in the future post pandemic.

South Korea hold the Overwatch World Cup trophy aloft in 2019

How much is the Overwatch World Cup prize pool?

The prize pool for the next Overwatch World Cup has not yet been revealed by Blizzard – mainly because we don’t know when the next one will take place.

In the past, the World Cup has followed a prize pool structure unlike any other esport, awarding every team that competes in the finals the same amount of prize money, regardless of how far they progress in the competition.

Related: Which is the biggest esports tournament of them all?

The 2018 total prize pool, including prize money awarded to teams in the group stages, was $488,000 (£395,000). In the finals, the eight teams who competed at BlizzCon each received $16,000 (£12,900).

This prize pool is likely to increase, but it is unclear at the moment how much it will increase by.

Which teams were in the Overwatch World Cup 2019?

The five top-seeded nations in the Overwatch rankings guaranteed themselves places at the 2019 World Cup. They were:

  • South Korea
  • Canada
  • China
  • France
  • United States of America

The five countries who will be joining them is determined by preliminary qualifiers in the days before the main action kicks off.

The countries seeded 6-10 in the rankings were guaranteed to be at the preliminaries and receive full funding and expenses from Blizzard. They were:

  • United Kingdom
  • Australia
  • Sweden
  • Russia
  • Finland

These five teams will then face off against other nations that successfully funded and assembled a national side. These were:

  • Austria
  • Colombia
  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Iceland
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Paraguay
  • Philippines
  • Portugal
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand

What were the Overwatch World Cup 2019 groups?


  • South Korea
  • France
  • USA
  • UK
  • Sweden


  • Canada
  • China
  • Denmark
  • Russia
  • Netherlands

For the main event of the Overwatch World Cup there are ten countries competing. They are divided into two groups of five.

The top team from each group go straight through to the semifinals, while second and third from each group face each other in a quarter-final to determine who will join the top team in the semis.

Five of the ten teams automatically qualified for the group stages as they were the top five seeded teams (South Korea, China, USA, Canada and France).

The other five teams qualified for the group stages via the preliminaries (UK, Russia, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands).

How do I watch the Overwatch World Cup?

The Overwatch World Cup is broadcast live on the Overwatch Twitch channel.

Those who own Overwatch were also given the choice during this year’s tournament to watch it through the Overwatch World Cup Viewer. This is a broadcast service that allows you to watch the games live in-game, via any perspective you want, including bird’s-eye view, worm’s-eye view, or from a first or third-person view of any player competing.

South Korean fans celebrating at the Overwatch World Cup

Which teams have won the Overwatch World Cup?

2016 South Korea Russia Sweden
2017 South Korea Canada Sweden
2018 South Korea China Canada
2019 USA China South Korea

The South Koreans have the most Overwatch World Cup titles having won the first three tournaments in 2016, 2017, and 2018. In 2019, however, they could only manage third.

The current World Cup champions are the USA who managed to put an end to South Korea’s dominance after defeating them in the semifinals.

They were then triumphant over the Chinese to secure the title. Their winning roster contained three members of the Overwatch League champions San Francisco Shock.

The USA’s entire Overwatch World Cup winning roster was:

  • DPS: Corey ‘Corey’ Nigra
  • DPS: Kyle ‘KSF’ Frandanisa
  • DPS: Jay ‘Sinatraa’ Won
  • Tank: Indy ‘SPACE’ Halpern
  • Tank: Matthew ‘Super’ DeLisi
  • Support: Grant ‘Moth’ Espe
  • Support: Shane ‘Rawkus’ Flaherty

For the next World Cup, the South Koreans will likely be the favourites again due to their massive player pool and massive presence in the Overwatch League. However, 2019 proves that they’re not invincible and that there’s a wealth of American Overwatch talent.