As businesses shift to work-from-home strategies to combat the spread of Coronavirus, esports leagues are forced to decide whether or not to proceed similarly. In a statement issued by Activision Blizzard Esports, all remaining scheduled events for Call of Duty League will be played online, for the foreseeable future. Matches will still be broadcast live, and dates for the upcoming matches will be announced in the near future. According to the publisher, live events are planned to resume as soon as possible. With the Coronavirus hitting the video game industry hard, it seemed this kind of thing was bound to be announced sooner, rather than later.
If there is a silver lining for Call of Duty League fans, it's the fact that games will continue to be broadcast. While leagues like the MLB, NHL, and NBA have been forced to postpone the rest of their seasons, the esports format could allow organizers to continue delivering the same product that fans have embraced. As the CDC cautions against large gatherings, several businesses will be forced to temporarily close their doors. As a result, people are going to be limited in what they'll be able to enjoy, during this time. It's a testament to Activision Blizzard Esports that things will be able to proceed, albeit in a slightly different format. Not all esports leagues are switching to an online format, however. Overwatch League has followed the lead of other professional sports leagues, indefinitely postponing the rest of their season.
It will be interesting to see what impact Coronavirus has on the ratings for Call of Duty League and other leagues that opt to air their matches online. While fans and esportsathletes both seem to enjoy the live format, online matches certainly seem preferable to postponing the rest of the season. All in all, it could be a very smart move in the long-term, and it could help encourage new viewers to try watching.
Of course, the news will no doubt come as a disappointment for those that were planning to attend Call of Duty League events. The Home Series has already provided some truly exciting moments this season. That said, it's impossible to blame Activision Blizzard Esports for making the decision that they did.
Do you plan on watching Call of Duty League's online matches? How do you feel about the shift to an online format? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!