Overwatch League may have been pushed down by concerns over the coronavirus, but it is not out this year. Where the organization originally canceled various matches a few days ago, including various homestand events, Overwatch League has announced it will carry out those matches online, and renew competition later in March 2020.
The Overwatch League announced its new plans for renewing competition on the Overwatch League blogs on March 13, 2020. Though the Overwatch League initially canceled events outright earlier this week, it has since revised its plans with a new upcoming online schedule of matches. Starting on March 21, Overwatch League matches will be played in a live online format.
“Online play allows us to prioritize the health and safety of our entire community while still continuing to bring fans high-quality entertainment and competition,” the Overwatch League wrote.
No times were posted in the initial announcement, but details are expected on the new online match schedule soon. The matches will still be broadcast live via the Overwatch League Youtube channel.
It’s a decent silver lining on what was otherwise looking like an unsalvageable situation. In a year where the Overwatch League and Call of Duty League were branching out heavily with newly franchised teams and cities around the world, it put quite a damper on things for so many events to be canceled. However, esports is versatile and the ability to play matches entirely online is serving as a boon in Overwatch League’s case. Other esports leagues, such as the League of Legends European LEC are also considering switching to such a style following the postponing of Spring events. Video game industry events like the 2020 BAFTA Game Awards and Extra Life United are also pivoting to livestreams to curtail coronavirus risks.
It’s not the best of situations in the least with concerns over the coronavirus taking priority to competition, but it would appear that the Overwatch League is starting to make lemonade of lemons and hopefully other organizations will continue to be able to follow suit.