NYXL Backs Out Of Overwatch League Due To Inability To Play Scheduled Matches

NYXL Backs Out Of Overwatch League Due To Inability To Play Scheduled Matches
Credit: Overwatch League via YouTube

The New York Excelsior is officially backing out of the Overwatch League for the time being due to New York City’s ‘Shelter in Place’ mandate that was recently pushed out.  They will not be playing in any Overwatch League matches until the mandate is lifted, which means that they’re also not going to be playing the scheduled matches this weekend, featuring sixteen games across forty-eight hours.  It’s a sudden and drastic blow for NYXL, fans of the NYC-based team, and the Overwatch League as a whole that simply cannot get a leg up during this quintessential season that was supposed to usher in Homestands.

The actual problem is uniquely New York City, and bizarre at that.  The team members live in apartments dotted throughout NYC, in a place where rent is universally known for being astronomically high and available space to be surprisingly low.  The buildings are old and tightly-packed, meaning many apartments simply can’t get ethernet going directly to their computer.

Many of the NYXL members have been attempting to stream via wifi in their apartments to keep their Twitch channels alive, and the community-supported as well as bringing in an additional set of income.  NYXL opted to have one central practice room for the NYXL team, away from their apartments, that has not only the space necessary for six individuals to play, but also coaches, analysts, and trainers to help the team analyze their strengths and weaknesses.

That facility is no longer reachable due to the ‘Shelter in Place’ mandate, and thus NYXL has been forced out of the Overwatch League for the time being.

With this weekend being set as a highly intensive make-up for the vast majority of teams playing online, NYXL bowing out for the time being will likely irrevocably damage their record to the point that they will be unable to make the mid-season finals based on points alone.  The season end finals should mathematically be possible, although that depends primarily on how long NYXL will have to sit on the sidelines while the other teams get the opportunity to compete.

Overwatch League is in its third season, and it is the most delicately balanced season out of all of them; teams were finally moving out of Los Angeles and into their representative cities, giving the Overwatch League an opportunity to not only expand its fanbase but also for the cities to have a direct chance to greatly increase their revenue streams.  Unfortunately, COVID-19 has seemed to have other plans and has expertly dashed almost every expectation the League has attempted to set.

As this has just developed, there is no immediate word from Blizzard in regards to what they may do to counter this.  NYXL is consistently rated as one of the top five teams in the League, and their complete removal will open the skill-gap between the top and bottom rated teams even wider than has already been seen.