TORONTO — The Toronto Defiant will open their inaugural season in the Overwatch League on Feb. 15 against the Houston Outlaws while the Vancouver Titans start the next day against the Shanghai Dragons.
Toronto and Vancouver are two of eight expansion teams in the second year of the 20-team esports league.
Houston finished seventh last season while Shanghai was 12th.
London won the inaugural league championship — and US$1 million — in July, defeating Philadelphia 3-0 at a sold-out Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Philadelphia collected US$400,000 as runner-up.
The league will stage its games at Blizzard's esports arena in Burbank, Calif., in 2019 with plans to host games in the franchise cities in 2020.
The league is the brainchild of Overwatch developer Blizzard Entertainment, whose gaming portfolio also includes "World of Warcraft'' and "StarCraft.'' Overwatch has more than 40 million players.
The Canadian Press