The Overwatch League has definitely taken its fair share of lumps this season; this season was a vital one for success as it was to introduce far more homestands across the globe as each team would have an opportunity to perk up local tourism and sell some merchandise as the Overwatch League was to descend in a righteous fury onto select cities at select times.
Then COVID-19 happened, and for many countries, there still isn’t an end in sight.
So Overwatch League went from canceling a few select matches in China, to eastern countries entirely, to shifting the entirety of the league into an online-only format which brings about its own unique blend of frustrations and grievances.
Not exactly what Blizzard was hoping for in this league was management was going to play the role of a hard carry, but they’ve done admirably enough with the resources they have had on hand, considering the obstacles placed in their way.
It’s all boiling down to the Grand Finals for the third season of the league, and as they tend to be, fans are rather hyped up to see the culmination of months of competitive play.
Yet while many esports are still region-locking their tournaments due to travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic, Blizzard has a lofty goal for the finals of the third season: offline LAN tournament taking place in Asia, with the best North American teams traveling over to enter the fray.
On October 10th, champion the future 🏆
The stage is set, mark your calendars for the #OWL2020 Grand Finals 📅
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) August 13, 2020
Admittedly, it seems a bit preposterous to even consider at the moment, off the back of ESL One having to cancel their offline LAN hopes for Cologne, yet Blizzard seems to be taking necessary precautions: quarantine after travel and before the match, safety, and rest for everyone.
They are looking at delivering the Grand Finals that many are hoping for, but without reckless abandon.
An important note is that if the ‘league deems travel unsafe’, then they currently have a fallback plan to crown two champions of this season, one for each region. While dates and times of the showings are currently scheduled, if travel is unsafe the times will need to be altered; the announcement promises that additional information will be forthcoming as logistics and plans are solidified.
There’s still plenty of time for the pandemic to quiet down: the schedule outlines the Grand Finals taking place from October 8 until October 10, featuring the teams vying for the massive winner take of the $1.5 million prize. The Grand Final will be streamed on YouTube, regardless of the form that it takes, and is sure to offer far more precise numbers as to how strong the Overwatch League is in terms of viewership after a less than an ideal season.