Overwatch League working on online schedule after homestand shutdowns

Steven R. March 13, 2020

Overwatch League’s pivot to a homestand format has been utterly disastrous due to the spread of the coronavirus. Now the league is looking to get things back on track by taking things online.

Blizzard has announced that it is currently putting together a schedule that would see the OWL played out online over the coming months. This will allow the league to both catch up on the games that have been missed over the last several weeks and keep things going at an optimal pace.

“We’re currently working on a revamped match schedule that will allow all teams around the world to begin competing in March while minimizing latency concerns. We will structure the March and April matches with teams competing within three groups based on regional geography,” OWL said in a statement on its website. “A revised match schedule will be shared next week. All matches will be broadcast live on YouTube and available on demand.”

Sports as a whole have been seriously impacted by the spread of the coronavirus, with the NBA and NHL recently suspending their 2020 seasons due to the spread of the disease.

Coronavirus to blame for OWL's move to online games

Esports was hit hard by the virus even before traditional sports, though. A number of notable esports events and leagues in Asia were canceled or delayed due to the coronavirus. This spread further and further west, with many in Europe and North America following suit.

The Overwatch League was one of the first to be impacted, with Chinese travel restrictions interrupting the preparation of each of the teams in the country. Soon after, teams canceled planned homestands in China and South Korea.

This left a significant portion of the OWL calendar unaccounted for, with several weekends of games being left unplayed without any definite time frame to remedy this. Things went from bad to worse when all homestands were canceled through April.

The switch to an online format is a must for the OWL, and will allow the league to make up for lost time. League of Legends has seen its leagues pivot to an online format in Asia and has seen general success over recent weeks.

Odds are that most esports leagues will follow suit, with the coronavirus situation seemingly becoming worse with time.