The Toronto Defiant is going to field a Montreal-based esports team in the Overwatch Contenders League.
OverActive Media, the Defiant's parent company, will own the Quebec feeder team with Mirage Sport Electronique helping run it.
The Contenders League has regional circuits in North America, Australia, China, South Korea, Pacific and South America. It is affiliated with Blizzard Entertainment's Overwatch League, which features 20 teams around the globe including two in Canada — the Defiant and the Vancouver Titans.
The Contenders League is at the top of the pathway for players looking to rise up the ranks and make it to the Overwatch League.
The Montreal team's name, logo, roster and schedule will be announced early next week in Montreal.
"This is a huge step toward the democratization of esports in Quebec," MSE president Yannick Babin said in a statement. "We want to prove that Quebec is able to compete with the giants of esports and this the first step in doing just that."
Quebec's MSE was founded in 2017 to help take esports athletes to a professional level.
Unlike the Defiant's all-Korean roster, the Montreal team will feature Canadian players.
"We absolute want to create not only a path to pro (ranks), but we want to create a path to pro for Canadian players as well," Adam Adamou, senior vice-president of strategy for OverActive Media, said in an interview. "We have a strategy around that."
It also allows OverActive to connect with Quebec and Eastern Canada.
"There's an awful lot of fans there of the Overwatch League," said Adamou.
The roster will consist of seven players, two coaches and a general manager. They will be housed in Montreal with OverActive saying it will be the first official pro-esports gaming house in Quebec.
Adamou said the team's schedule will be announced next week.
The Contenders League schedule has two parts, with Season 1 kicking off Feb. 25. OverActive says Montreal's Season 2 games will take place at the downtown Esports Central Arena, the first esports arena in Montreal, before up to 600 spectators.
Games will be broadcasted online in both English and French.
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press