The Overwatch League is coming back on March 28 with a packed schedule.
The Overwatch League is ready to resume activities after a prolonged hiatus. Earlier this year, the Overwatch League was forced to cancel homestands in China and South Korea. As the coronavirus spread to the rest of the world, Blizzard decided to transition into an online format and cancel all scheduled homestands.
The show must go on, so the Overwatch League announced a new schedule with 16 games, scheduled to start on Saturday, March 28.
Things kick off at 3 a.m. CT with a match between the Guangzhou Charge and Shanghai Dragons, followed by Chengdu Hunters vs. Hangzhou Spark. This is the first game of the season for all four Chinese teams. The day will resume at 2 p.m. CT with the Toronto Defiant vs. the Boston Uprising. The final game of the day will start a 12 a.m. CT.
On Sunday March 29, the day will follow a similar schedule with eight new series.
According to the Overwatch League’s website, the following week starts on Friday April 3 with six games and eight games on Saturday and Sunday.
2020 was supposed to be a huge year for the Overwatch League. The homestand model was supposed to create a truly global experience.
In reality, the Overwatch League bit off more than it could chew. The cost of traveling every week was high for teams, and the schedule was overwhelming for the players. On top of it all, the viewership numbers were declining. It looked like the Overwatch League was destined for failure, until the coronavirus attacked.
A global pandemic might be the best thing to happen to the Overwatch League in 2020. WIN.gg reported that players were considering a strike over the intense travel requirements, and the league’s return after an extended break could drive up viewership numbers. This also gives Blizzard and its franchisees a chance to rethink their overall approach to the Overwatch League.
Blizzard needs to take this time to regroup and make some changes, and compare its strategies with other esports leagues such as the new ESL Pro League in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and the LCS and LEC in League of Legends. Going online gives the Overwatch League time to reinvent itself and improve.
Though the homestand format was certainly an interesting idea, Blizzard might want to reconsider it during this time.