Overwatch League postpones first weekend of online matches

Robert Paul/Provided by Blizzard Entertainment

Blizzard Entertainment will postpone this weekend's online Overwatch League matches on March 21-22 due to California's recent statewide "stay at home" order.

"For the overall safety and well-being of our players, teams and staffs, and in alignment with California's statewide 'stay at home' order, we are canceling this weekend's scheduled Overwatch League competition," the statement read. "We will share more details on match rescheduling and look forward to returning to action soon."

Blizzard's main offices are in Irvine, California, and its previous Overwatch League tournaments were held in Burbank.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered approximately 40 million California residents to stay at home except for essential services. Essentials include grocery stores and other food businesses (restaurants will be takeout or delivery only), gas stations, pharmacies, banks, laundromats and essential state and government workers. The order goes into effect Thursday night and will remain until further notice, according to the official state of California government website.

On Saturday, Blizzard and league operations announced an updated schedule to become a fully online league. This schedule was a restructuring of the previous schedule, which had been separated into various geolocated homestands across six countries (China, South Korea, France, England, Canada and the United States).

The Chinese homestands in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, and Chengdu had already been postponed and then canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. This was followed by the cancellation of the South Korean homestand in Seoul. Homestands continued throughout the United States with the last one taking place in Washington on March 7-8. On March 11, Blizzard announced that all remaining March and April homestands would be canceled and that the league would move toward online play.

Worldwide the coronavirus death toll has surpassed 10,000 and infections have topped 240,000, including 86,000 people who have recovered, according to The Associated Press.