Amidst concerns about the spread of COIVID-19, the Overwatch League organisers have been planning hard to try and ensure matches continue in the safest manner possible. A few weeks ago they announced that games would be held online, after initial concerns about the Asian-based teams travelling to other countries. Now that the Coronavirus is spreading fiercely throughout the US, American-based teams are also working hard to ensure their players are safe.
New York in particular has been hit hard by the pandemic, and a 'stay-at-home mandate has been advised by the US government. As a result, New York Excelsior (NYXL), have pulled out of Overwatch League matches for the foreseeable future. In a Twitter post, NYXL explained that they are "continuing to make efforts to return to the competition as soon as possible".
Despite the Overwatch League trying to ensure the competition continues by holding matches online, NYXL's decision to pull out of matches is one that makes sense. Whilst they could still partake in matches, it does cause issues with getting players together to practice which has been the way they did things previously.
NYXL are not the first team to withdraw from games for this reason (and will certainly not be the last), with all of the California-based teams pulling out last week, following a state-wide lockdown being announced. We hope that things pick up quickly but we appreciate that teams need to prioritize the health of their players.