Blizzard Entertainment has just released the full schedule of matches for the 2020 season of the Overwatch League. The Overwatch League is slated to be the first truly international esports league and now we know exactly what the schedule will look like. There will be matches in 20 cities around the world. These cities will share hosting duties across the 52 homestand weekend events in 2020. The season will kick off in New York on February 8th. The full 2020 Overwatch League Schedule and announcement can be found here.
Is the 2020 Schedule Fair?
Although the news of the 2020 OWL schedule is quite exciting to wake up to, there needs to be a discussion about whether this schedule is fair. Where is the integrity in a professional league that allows for teams with a much larger budget to secure more home games for their players? Although comparisons to traditional sports are generally disliked by esports pundits, the facts cannot be ignored. Home advantages in sport are a massive deal.
In this report written by Jon Bois, research has shown that sporting teams in the U.S can expect up to a 20% boost to their chances of winning when they play at home. It could be the difference between a loss and a win. Or the difference between making or not making the playoffs. And with Blizzard already having experimented with these homestands they would know that home and away games are no different in esports. The Dallas homestand games drew thousands of local Fuel fans to their games, and the support really showed in the team’s performances.
How the Schedule will Affect the Teams
Both the Guangzhou Charge and Washington Justice have five homestands each. While teams like the Houston Outlaws and Florida Mayhem have just two homestands each. At every homestand event, the home team will play two matches. This means that a team like the Washington Justice will have more than double the amount of home games of a team like Houston.
Certain ranks have become impossible for certain teams due to massive map differentials. Atlanta can no longer place 9th, nor can Boston place 18th. Still plenty
to look forward to at the KitKat Rivalry weekend though! pic.twitter.com/PwrOXj61KX
— Ben Trautman (@CaptainPlanetOW) August 19, 2019
As the 2019 regular season begins to wrap up, this graph shows just how uncertain some teams final placings still are. Also, Houston Outlaws fans may still feel the sting of the 2018 season where the Outlaws missed out on a playoffs berth by one match. So in a league where every win counts and map differential may have seriously important consequences, introducing this questionable schedule may just create a league in which it pays to pay big. Teams that can afford to host multiple homestand weekends should see a big payoff. Not only in their quest to build a supportive local fan base but also in-game results.
What do you think? Is this schedule fair?
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