The Overwatch League cancelled the live events scheduled for the post-season, including the playoffs at Arlington and the Grand Finals in Los Angeles. The playoffs and Grand Finals will continue in a similar format to the four Hawaii-based tournaments from the regular season. With the increase of COVID-19’s delta variant within the United States, the safety of the players and fans led the league to make this decision.
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) August 26, 2021
In the statement posted on Twitter, the Overwatch League said “unfortunately, since we orginally announced plans for the postseason, the environment has changed significantly. After continued consultation with our teams, we are no longer confident that all of them would be able to travel to the United States with their full rosters. We have therefore made the difficult decision to pivot from live events centered around Dallas and Los Angeles and will instead return to Hawaii for postseason competition.”
Live events cancelled due to COVID-19
The 2021 Overwatch League season has been all online, with Hawaii as the outlier. Specific live events appeared within the season, in China and Arlington, Texas. This change means that the 2021 season will have no live fans for the Western Division’s games. The only instance where a Western Division team got to play in front of an audience was the Dallas Fuel, back in July. That event sold out in 48 hours and helped fans cheer for an already successful Dallas Fuel roster. Live events were supposed to return in the West for the season playoffs and Grand Finals.
Tickets have not been up for sale, but the Overwatch League website had an explanation for where and when everything was supposed to happen. Originally, after the final eight teams made it through, they would meet in Arlington, Texas, at the Esports Stadium Arlington. After the playoffs eliminated the teams until only two were remaining, the Grand Finals would be the week after. That final game would’ve been at the Galen Center in Los Angeles.
However, the league noticed the increasing delta variant within the United States and decided to cancel their live events. According to the Overwatch League, the changed post-season will function like the Hawaii tournaments that existed in the regular season. The format will have to change to accommodate the larger scale of the overall season playoffs. Either way, the official season playoff format will update soon.
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Polish-Canadian game enthusiast. I've been entrenched in gaming for as long as I can remember, with my first game being Pokemon Yellow and my most played games being Borderlands 2 and Overwatch. I have a degree in Film Studies, but writing about esports just makes my job all the better.