Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Blizzard has announced that all remaining games in the Overwatch League 2020 season will be played online. This means that all remaining homestands have been cancelled.
This is a disappointing decision for fans who were excited for the new homestand format in OWL’s third season. The league was looking to establish OWL as a global series of events, with each franchise hosting shows in their hometowns.
However, due to the increasing risk of COVID-19 around the world and especially in the United States, Blizzard made the call to switch to an online-only format.
Since the League is rearranging matches based on teams’ geographical locations, the online-only format will also see schedule changes for teams, This means that fans will see Asian and European teams playing each other, and likewise for US-based teams.
There are no details yet about what will happen to fans who have purchased tickets to homestand events. Refunds are a possibility, but venues may roll those tickets over towards future homestands.
The COVID-19 outbreak has forced the cancellation or delay of many esports events. For OWL, homestands in China and South Korea were cancelled because of the outbreak, which saw numerous teams not begin competing until recently.
Earlier this month, it was announced that all homestands scheduled for March and April were cancelled and that they would make further decisions about the rest of the season at a later date. In the statement released by Blizzard, they do hope to return to live events before the end of the 2020 season. This most likely refers to playoff and Grand Finals matches.
The Overwatch League is still heavily invested in making the homestand format work. Even if 2020 proves to be lost, odds are that they will revisit the idea in 2021.
The next two weeks of matches have been posted to the OWL website. The full schedule will likely be revealed in the near future.