Overwatch League is the latest Esports competition to make changes to its schedule amid the growing COVID-19 pandemic. Blizzard, which runs the hugely popular game and its professional competitive slate, announced that it’s moving all events to online-only competitions.
The league announced on Friday that in addition to its homestand events canceled for March and April the league will return to streaming matches played online only beginning later in March.
Earlier this week, we canceled Overwatch League homestand events for March and April, and today we’re announcing that those matches will be played live in an 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. We expect matches to resume online beginning March 21.
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.
All matches will stream live on YouTube. Watching gaming competitions live-streamed is nothing new for gamers, but it does show just how serious people are taking the pandemic’s spread. Overwatch League draws huge crowds, and its competitive events are huge draws for fans to come together in arena-sized venues. Eschewing that temporarily is certainly the right thing to do, but it’s fascinating to see such a huge Esport roll back its events due to coronavirus.