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Overwatch League Cancels Homestands for March and April; Games Will Still Played

March 11, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Overwatch League Genji Hangzhou Spark

The Overwatch League is following suit with many others in choosing caution in the face of the coronavirus, cancelling its Homestands through April. The esports league announced on Wednesday that it will be cancelling the home city-hosted events, which saw the OWL matches played in front of localized crowds, for March and April.

The statement notes, “The health and safety of employees, fans, players, teams, and partners is paramount to Activision Blizzard Esports. We are continuing to closely monitor COVID-19 (coronavirus), city-level recommendations and mandates, and all guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After careful review and working in close collaboration with our teams, we are canceling all Overwatch League events scheduled for March and April. For more details on these specific events, please visit host team websites and follow their social channels.”

The games will still be played for the season, however; the announcement added, “Concurrently, we are working hand-in-hand with our teams to see that all matches are played when it’s safe and logistically feasible, staying as close to our originally planned schedule as possible. We are considering the various options available to esports in this effort, so that all teams – including those previously impacted by scheduling changes in China – can get back to doing what they do best. No adjustments have been made for any other scheduled Overwatch League events. We will share additional updates, as needed.”

The OWL has been shorthanded on events this season because with most of its Pacific Division Homestands taking place in China and South Korea to start off the year, they have been one of the earliest leagues with a major US presence to be forced into cancellations. As the statement notes, the hope is that by cancelling the Homestands, not only are they protecting the health of their players, employees and fans; they can also find a solution such as empty-venue LAN matches that will allow the Pacific Division teams — who have missed out on several weeks of games — to play previously-cancelled games.

OWL commissioner Pete Vlastelica added on Twitter:

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Overwatch League, Jeremy Thomas