As the coronavirus has spread, garnering the classification of global pandemic, various cities worldwide have put effort into stay-at-home policies and closure of all but essential businesses during this time. New York is one such city, and due to its ongoing mandate of shelter-at-home, Overwatch League team New York Excelsior will withdraw from upcoming online matches to comply.
New York Excelsior announced its decision to comply with New York shelter-at-home mandates in the city via the NYXL Twitter on March 27, 2020. Though the Overwatch League has worked to put together online matches and schedules following cancellation of direct and crowd-attended events due to COVID-19, it’s still been anything but a smooth transition.
“We’re continuing to make efforts to return to competition as soon as possible,” NYXL wrote. “We’ll continue to create incredible ways for our fans to connect with our players digitally during this time as they represent our city proudly and demonstrate the resilience it is known for.”
— NYXL (@NYXL) March 27, 2020
New York Excelsior isn’t the first to step back from Overwatch League matches despite the new online formats announced by the league. California-based Overwatch League teams also canceled matches just one week before due to the state of California similarly going into lockdown with shelter-in-place policies. It’s not that the teams couldn’t play online matches, but depending on the strictness of the policies, it does cause issue when it comes to getting all players of each team together for matches and any officiating and casting that would take place.
New York Excelsior may not have been the first to step back from scheduled matches in order to preserve safety of their players, but they likely won’t be the last either as city officials and medical professionals continue to direct businesses and communities to curtail and contain COVID-19.