‘Overwatch League’ launches May Madness mid-season tournament

The Overwatch League is switching to a tournament format for the month of May. Teams will battle over prize money and playoff seeding sports.

As usual, 20 teams will grind it out through the whole tournament. The Overwatch League reserves 13 slots for teams in North America, and seven slots will be allotted to teams based in Asia. Each region will hold its own tournament and will have its own champion.

Overwatch League structure the tournament in two legs. During the first three weeks of May, teams will fight it out to determine their tournament seeding. The second leg of the tournament will take place on May 22 to May 24.

Out of the 20 qualified teams, only the top four will receive prize money. The champions of each tournament will receive $40,000. Each winning team during the tournament will receive $5,000 for every victory.

Overwatch League amidst the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has both positive and negative impact on the entire eSport scene. Tournaments like the Overwatch League are forced to make changes to their calendar.

Earlier this year, Overwatch League organizer Blizzard Entertainment switched to a homestand format. This means that teams will be playing all matches during live events held in their home cities. The tournament was structured so that there will be three sets of mid-season playoffs.

However, because of the COVID-19 outbreak, Blizzard Entertainment decided to ditch the homestand format. Therefore, all upcoming Overwatch League tournaments will be played strictly using online-only. As a result of these changes, the original plan for the $1.05-million season was dropped.

Blizzard Entertainment confirmed that the hero pools will be suspended during the tournament weekend. This means that players can play all 32 characters in the game.

Regarding its matches, the league will continue to use the standard first-to-three-maps format for the seeding and elimination games. The championship will use first-to-four-maps format. Using this format, the first team to win in three maps will be declared the winner.

Tournaments to boost interest

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, several video game platforms have reported a surge in gamer activity. Overwatch League is trying to capitalize on this uptick by staging online-only tournaments in order to boost interests.

However, Overwatch League’s decision to move from the Twitch platform over to YouTube may have significant repercussions. The game recently reported that it is not hitting viewership figures, as compared to its performance in the last couple of years.

Image courtesy of Sergey Galyonkin/Wikimedia Commons

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