The format is in the drafting stage and is still very much subject to change.
According to sources familiar with the matter, the Overwatch League has reportedly presented its franchise owners with a new format suggestion for the 2021 season. The alleged key changes to the seasonal format would see a delayed start in April, the inclusion of three Asian Contenders teams into each of the three Asian tournaments, and, if possible, offline tournaments with a mid-season tournament pitting both regions against each other. The sources emphasised to GGRecon that these format changes are merely suggestions at this point in time.
As those sources have disclosed to GGRecon, the fourth season is reportedly set to start in April of next year, running until September. Regions would stay separated for the majority of play in season 4, with the exception being a tournament in the mid-season featuring teams from both regions as well as the season’s playoffs.
According to the sources, three tournaments would be played in each region respectively with a mid-season tournament and the playoffs being shared events by both regions on top of those competitions, bringing the total count of knockout stage tournaments an individual team could participate in up to five. Due to its significantly lower team count in the Asian region at five teams with the New York Excelsior and London Spitfire returning to their home markets, the Overwatch League is allegedly aiming to incorporate Asian Contenders teams into each of the respective Asian region tournaments, with one slot going to Korean Contenders, Chinese Contenders, and a Wild Card each.
The regular season would conclude in August with the playoffs lasting for three weeks in September. Sources have shared with GGRecon that the Overwatch League intends to have LAN competition for the North American division without live attendance, while Asia could potentially see live audiences at its respective offline tournament events depending on the development of the global pandemic and reserves the possibility of requiring online play in accordance to the situation at the respective locations.
The sources emphasised that the information is still subject to change at this point in time. This information lines up with details that GGRecon has received over the last couple of weeks, allegedly seeing the league proposing several different kinds of formats, some of which saw teams North American teams take turns to travel to Asia for a quarter of the regular season, to even out the asymmetric numbers between the Asian and North American regions. It is expected that the format will continue to be adjusted to the developments around the global pandemic in dialogue with the teams. GGRecon has reached out to Blizzard Entertainment for comment.
GGRecon will keep updating the information as the story develops.
Image via Blizzard Entertainment