Following the cancellation of its live homestand events due to the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the Overwatch League has released the schedule of online matches for March and April.
Under the new schedule, all Overwatch League teams will compete in three geographically-based regions in order to minimize latency issues for the new online competition format.
The three regions include the United States West Coast, China, and an encompassing region for all the league’s Atlantic Conference teams based on the United States East Coast and Texas.
The West Coast region teams include the Dallas Fuel, Los Angeles Gladiators, Los Angeles Valiant, San Francisco Shock, and Vancouver Titans, while the China-based teams — the Chengdu Hunters, Guangzhou Charge, Hangzhou Spark, and Shanghai Dragons — will understandably play each other.
Meanwhile, the Atlantic Conference region will include the Atlanta Reign, Boston Uprising, Florida Mayhem, Houston Outlaws, London Spitfire, Philadelphia Fusion, New York Excelsior, Paris Eternal, Toronto Defiant, and Washington Justice.
“The schedule was constructed to eliminate the need for travel while maintaining a level playing field for the teams, so all matches are taking place based in the regions where teams are currently residing,” the Overwatch League explained in a statement.
Each team will play the necessary amount of matches during this online portion of the season to catch them up to the total number of matches they had been scheduled to play through the midseason point of the season’s original schedule.
As a result, the teams in the Pacific Conference will generally play more frequently than teams in the Atlantic Conference. However, the league assured that the schedule “was designed to maximize fairness between teams, factoring in the total amount of matches played each week.”
The Overwatch League’s original schedule for this season was balanced so that teams would play twice against teams in their own conference in 18 out of 28 matches and once against the other conference in 10 out of 28 matches.
“With teams playing by regional location, the schedule can no longer adhere to that breakdown. Some teams will play more than two matches against other teams, and some teams won’t play each other,” the Overwatch League added.
The league added that they are currently evaluating changes to the structure of this season’s playoffs to account for the disruptions to the original season schedule, including format and qualification.
“We appreciate the support and understanding of all our players, teams, fans, and partners as we continue to adjust our planning and scheduling based on new developments. The league plans to return to team-hosted homestand competitions in front of live audiences as soon as it is safe and logistically possible,” said the Overwatch League.
To view the full schedule of online matches for March and April, check here.
The coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt the global esports industry. Aside from the Overwatch League, the League of Legends professional leagues in North America and Europe will also notably continue competition online to ensure the health and wellbeing of its teams and players.
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