Upper Deck has partnered with the Overwatch League in a multi-year deal for esports' first physical cards, as well as a digital achievement system for unlocking other collectibles for people looking to grab them all.
This collaboration with the Overwatch League signifies the first time that Upper Deck has entered esports. The deal will also include stickers, sticker books, prints, posters, and other memorabilia.
Overwatch League fans will be able to collect and trade cards with collectors across the globe on the Upper Deck e-Pack platform that allows fans to access trading card packs from anywhere in the world using a phone, tablet, or computer. These e-Pack cards will then be able to be sent to fans as a physical product at any time.
“Collaborating with Upper Deck allows the Overwatch League to offer fans everywhere the opportunity to collect and trade exclusive cards and collectibles—featuring their favorite teams and players—that can be cherished for years to come,” said Daniel Siegel, head of esports licensing at Blizzard Entertainment. “This is an awesome milestone for our companies, and for esports as a whole.”
The first e-Pack cards will release on June 19 on the Upper Deck E-Pack website and will show off moments from the first Overwatch League season. There will be autographed cards on offer from multiple players, as well as an achievement system where fans can earn avatars, shadowboxed cards, and cards incorporating other OWL memorabilia. The first set will include 125 cards from the inaugural 12 Overwatch League teams. As with many other sports cards, there will be insert cards highlighting key moments, rivalries, league leaders, and special events. There will also be foil variants, as well as cards printed on acetate, which will have their own rarities in packs.
“We are very excited to collaborate with the Overwatch League for our first esports deal and to deliver new and innovative products to Overwatch League fans everywhere,” said Jason Masherah, president of Upper Deck. “This is a great way to celebrate Upper Deck’s 30th anniversary, and we look forward to working with the talented team at Activision Blizzard for many years to come.”
Fans will get their first taste of these new trading cards at the Overwatch League All-Star game this week, and will have a chance to get two exclusive All-Star themed hero cards available for a limited time via a QR code.
While there have been efforts towards digital trading cards in the past from companies like Epics, the Upper Deck deal signifies the first time a major trading card company has entered esports, and done so with a physical card release. Blizzard themselves produced StarCraft 2 WCS trading cards around BlizzCon 2013, but did not continue those efforts on their own.