Hi-Rez’s Oceania Esports League (OEL) kicks off this week, moving into its second season. After running its first season over the course of two days at a weekly LAN in Sydney, Australia, OEL has expanded its scope to include ANZ teams through a partnership with SMITE and Paladins.

The 2017 Hi-Rez Oceania Esports Championship Series starts on the 26th of February, and includes all five regions of the Oceania region. The top two teams from each region, and the top two teams from North America will get spots in the Global Finals in Atlanta, Georgia in April. They will be joined by the top two teams from the Asia Pacific region in a joint LAN event.

The Hi-Rez Festival of Esports has built an impressive brand in the last few years and has established itself as a major tournament series for the SMITE and Paladins esports seasons. After picking up E-sports Australia and giving them a hand to grow and develop the scene in this country, Hi-Rez are now expanding the reach of the festival into the Oceania region by securing ANZ teams in an official league for both games.

Hi-Rez Studios, the creators of the action MOBA SMITE and the fantasy shooter Paladins, announced today that Oceania teams will compete for the first time in the 2017 seasons for a spot in upcoming international SMITE Masters and Paladins Masters events, as well as a share of a USD $195,000 prize pool.

“The SMITE and Paladins esports teams in Australia and New Zealand will be assured direct qualification for two international tournaments this year as a result of outstanding results in the area. We’re thrilled to see Oceania teams play with our other teams from across the globe, continuing to develop their abilities at the top level,” said Hi-Rez Studios Senior Esports Manager Dan McHugh. 

Teams from Oceania (Australia and New Zealand) now have full access to international competition, prize pools, and important exposure to a global audience.  

Teams will compete in the SMITE Oceania Pro League, which has a prize pool of $10,000 AUD, and the Paladins Masters Qualifier, which has a prize pool of $8,000 AUD. The best teams from each will compete in the SMITE and Paladins Masters finals, which will be held at Hi-Rez Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, in April.

“We’ve always been pleased to provide Oceania area teams with one of the finest esports paths, with direct qualifying to the global SMITE World Championship and Hi-Rez Expo.” President of Hi-Rez Studios, Stew Chisam, said. “We are dedicated to a thriving environment for both SMITE and Paladins, which has some of the highest adoption rates in the globe in Australia.”

The Oceania Pro League in SMITE and Paladins will run from February through April, providing local teams with a full year of international competition.