Overwatch League Teams travel costs to be paid out their own pockets

The Overwatch League is winding towards its Midseason Madness final in Hawaii. This is an in-person tournament when the top teams from the last few weeks compete to see which is at the top of the pack for this stage. However, teams have run into a few roadblocks at this final. OWL team travel costs aren’t being covered by organizers. There’s also going to be restrictions on practice time for players.

These new policies from the League are bizarre. The costs of travel might not seem too much for a team. However, the League’s structure is set up in a way where there are some major costs involved with traveling for the LAN. On top of that, restrictions on practice time are probably coming at the worst possible time for the League.

Why is a fully franchised league so poorly optimized?

On the way to Midseason Madness

OWL Teams travel costs not paid for

In previous years of the Overwatch League, teams had their transport to LAN events covered by the League. Along with accommodation, the League took care of the OWL teams travel costs. It’s a pretty essential part of how the League is run, so it makes sense that this wouldn’t be up for teams to organize. That’s stopped this season.

This is the case for most games. Most recently,  Apex Legends had to u-turn on a similar policy after fans have voiced outcry at the ridiculous expense being leveled at teams. Pretty much every game covers these costs.

However, this time around the League in 2022 isn’t going to be covering OWL teams travel costs or accommodation. This presents a bigger problem than just booking a flight though. Teams don’t know that they’re going to be competing in a final bracket until very close to it being held. This means that teams have to either pay for short-notice travel costs which can get extremely expansile, or waste money booking travel long before they know if it’s even going to be needed. This is a costly practice for the teams in the Overwatch League. It hasn’t made for an easy ride this year.

LA Gladiators specifically have explained that they would have to win the tournament outright to even recover the costs of attending. This is far from ideal. If the League continues with this model it’s going to cause serious issues for teams.

Travel Restrictions Limiting Practise Time

On top of having to cover their own OWL teams travel costs, they are seeing more complications with getting to Hawaii. For some reasons related to restrictions, ‘limited practice slots’ are being given to teams at the event. They are only having a small amount of ‘gameplay allotment’ to actually play the game. They would be punished if they exceed this limit to practice time. This is kind of a mess, for obvious reasons.

Limiting practice time right before a major LAN is never exactly a positive. However, Overwatch League is currently being played on a beta build of Overwatch 2. This means things are changing quickly and the game itself is very different from the one most of the League has been playing since 2016. This makes decent practice time more vital than ever.

Teams aren’t going to be able to practice as much as they want which is going to have to have an impact on the game’s quality over the Midseason Madness.

These restrictions largely apply to the west side of teams. The League is going to be limiting practise time for the east to make things vaguely even. However, hindering both sides of the League isn’t much of a remedy. A better outcome would see teams competing and firing on all cylinders.

The Midseason Madness bracket is looking like it might end up a bit of a mess. With these further restrictions on some players, we could see some unexpected results if you’re looking at Overwatch betting for the League. Be sure to tune in and see if any of the teams can beat the odds stacked against them in this tournament.

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