Sources: Overwatch League homestands to make return in the West in 2022

. 5 months ago
Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

As the Overwatch League is gearing up for Season 5, Western teams have learned that the homestand model will make a return in 2022, multiple sources have told Dexerto.

Introduced in Season Two, the homestand system sees teams compete at local venues in a home-and-away system, bringing the Overwatch League closer to the franchise model used by major league sports, including the NBA, NHL, and MLS. After a few test events, the model ended up being shelved in 2020 as lockdowns and travel restrictions set in amid the global health crisis.

In March 2021, Tony Petitti, then the president of sports and entertainment at Activision Blizzard, told the Sports Business Journal that in-person competition would return in some form when possible, though he stressed that the company would be “less dependent on live events” moving forward.

Activision-Blizzard
Homestand events will return in the West in Season 5

With Season 5 two months away, Western teams have been informed that the league is moving ahead with its original plans regarding homestand events, which will return only in this region. Their Eastern counterparts will still be playing their regional matches in an online setting.

Sources have said that Season 5 of the Overwatch League will have a multi-stage format more akin to the one in place during the first two seasons. Stages one and three will be region-locked, while stage two will feature cross-regional play. This time around, there will be no stage four playoffs but some form of a last-chance qualifier.

Sources added that postseason competition will return to a LAN setting in 2022. Last year, Western sides had to travel to Hawaii to face Asian teams, competing online on servers designed to reduce game latency as part of ‘Project Aloha’.

The return of LANs and of the homestand model represents a great boost, not just for fans of the Overwatch League, but for the teams themselves, who were severely impacted by the online-only model and missed out on revenue opportunities that would have resulted from the planned in-person events.

Season 5 of the Overwatch League is scheduled to start in April, as per a September announcement from then Overwatch League Head Jon Spector. The competition will begin on an early build of Overwatch 2, though Dexerto reported on January 31 that teams still had not been granted access to a beta version and were preparing for the new season with custom training programs.

Correction February 15, 3:40 GMT: A previous version of this article stated that there would be no stage four in Season 5. It will still take place, but the stage four playoffs will be replaced by a last-chance qualifier.

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