The events that were previously scheduled for Dallas and Los Angeles will be substituted by a Hawaii-based model and utilized throughout the season.
Due to the threat of COVID-19 and the delta variant, the Overwatch League stated today that its live, in-person postseason events would be cancelled. Throughout the 2021 season, there will be the replacement of the events by a Hawaii-based postseason model, similar to the ones utilized for monthly tournaments.
Following the withdrawal of New England’s slot, the League also announced a new deadline date to select a new team: November 30, 2021.
Overwatch League Statement: “From August 29th through September 16th, we tested COVID-19 in our preseason tournament: Overwatch Open Division. Based on the results of those tests, we were able to confirm our concerns surrounding this newly identified variant of the virus and elected to extend our testing window by another month. During that time period, we identified multiple more cases throughout the Overwatch League that were attributed to COVID-19 (causing an additional 10 player suspensions). We communicated with Doc Q and others within Blizzard Entertainment in order to generate as many potential solutions as possible. As it turned out, none of these solutions had been effective, and the virus continued to spread through our league”.
“The Overwatch League has since been forced to make the difficult decision to cancel our live postseason events in order to protect our players, coaches, and staff from this unknown threat. We have also elected not to exercise our option for a live championship finale in Hawaii for the 2021 season, given that we cannot ensure an optimal environment. Instead, we will be implementing a new model for our postseason that does not rely on live events. We are confident this new model will deliver an excellent viewing experience for viewers worldwide”.
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) August 26, 2021
Blizzard Entertainment’s Statement: “We are working closely with the Overwatch League to understand why it is taking longer than anticipated for our specialists to find a potential solution. We are hopeful that our specialists will be able to develop a solution quickly. However, it is important that we exercise caution in this process, as any solution will need to account for the diverse field of players in the League and their many different circumstances”.
“In light of these developments, we feel strongly that both parties should continue the search for a solution that addresses player health and safety as much as possible. We realize this is a significant change and will ensure that players, doctors, team owners, and Blizzard are as comfortable as possible with this solution”.
After seeing the performance of all the teams in the season 3 preseason tournament, it turned out that we have to face an even more serious problem of the COVID-19 variant. As a result of these tests (as in all other cases), ten players have been suspended from the League. Blizzard Entertainment has been notified, and they have started their own research.
The League has left its options open since August 29th – could be about the background of this dangerous virus or about a new variant (the beta version).er in the future.