Activision’s inaugural Call of Duty League is one of many live esports events and competitions finding themselves having to adjust around the impact of Covid-19 Coronavirus, with Activision Blizzard Esports announcing today that the league is going online-only for the rest of 2020.
The news comes after the cancellation of all Overwatch League Homestand events earlier this week, and shows the path forward that Activision Blizzard will likely take for that league as well, which had already been impacted by travel and event restrictions that came into effect through China and Asia in January.
Activision’s statement reads:
The health and safety of employees, fans, players, teams, and partners is paramount to Activision Blizzard Esports.
We are continuing to closely monitor COVID-19 (coronavirus), city-level recommendations and mandates, and all guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
After careful review and working in close collaboration with our teams, we are shifting all currently scheduled 2020 Call of Duty League live events to online-only competition, effective immediately. For details on previously ticketed events, please visit host team websites and follow their social channels.
The new online-only matches will be broadcast live to fans. Dates will be announced shortly, along with tune-in details.
Call of Duty League has seen firsthand the power of our live events in our inaugural season, and will return to city-based competition in front of live audiences as soon as it is safe and logistically possible.
In the interim, Call of Duty League is confident it will continue to deliver fans what they want: amazing competition between the best players, competing at the highest level, for the right to be considered the greatest team on earth.
The Call of Duty League had already held three local events, with the opening weekend in Minnesota at the end of January followed by those in London, Atlanta and Los Angeles. These were Homestand events similar to those found in Overwatch League, where one home team hosts several matches as the kind of headline act in front of their fans. That home game advantage will be lost going forward.
This kind of adjustment something that esports are uniquely capable of, compared to physical sporting events. Many esports already start off with online competition phases between teams, acting as qualifiers or feeder tournaments for the live events. While being played online will mean that latency and lag could be seen as a factor, compared to minimal network latency that’s possible with banks of computers and consoles connected on a LAN at a live event, it likely won’t be a major impact in an official tournament.
Source: COD League