The Overwatch League has announced that its live, postseason events will be canceled due to concerns surrounding the growing cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant.
The worsening COVID-19 conditions has meant that teams will face difficulty in travelling to the United States with their full rosters. The live events were planned to take place largely centered around Dallas and Los Angeles but instead will now be switching to Hawaii, similar to how they handled this year's in-season tournaments.
West Region teams will be able to travel to Hawaii and compete online against the East Region teams in South Korea or China. The plan here is to be able to connect the competing teams on the same server, while still minimizing the COVID-19 risk.
Naturally, a lot of disappointment came from players and fan alike in response to the decision.
Atlanta Reign's Blake "Gator" Scott took to Twitter to express his feelings on the situation, saying "What a joke, they can't do one thing right." The criticism sparked some debate amongst OWL fans, leading Gator to expand on his comments saying that it's "unfortunate [OWL] are willing to risk five teams from this region in the middle of the pandemic so the other three don't have to travel."
The playoff event was set to take place between Sept. 16 and Sept. 19 at the Esports Stadium Arlington in Dallas, with fans to be allowed to attend. This would lead to the Grand Finals event due to take place on Sept. 25 in Los Angeles, also with a live audience. Instead, it is likely that the West Region teams will return to the University of Hawaii at Manoa, which hosted the teams earlier in the year.
While the disappointment is clear across all parties, OWL fans are left to see if these changes will affect the performance of the competing teams in the upcoming playoffs.