While the video game industry benefitted heavily from the surge of people seeking to play during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, you can't exactly say the same thing for its competitive side.
Esports tournaments ground to a halt for a while, as organizers looked for alternatives. Eventually most did find a way, with events taking place entirely online in remote virtual setups.
With that said, even though it's been more than a year since the COVID-19 pandemic first started to ravage the globe, it appears that not all esports leagues have adjusted. Case in point, the Overwatch League. Rumor has it that the global esports league is going on a "year-long hiatus" for its 2022 season.
However, just as everyone was prepared to write off the OWL as a failure, its VP has come out to deny all rumors of the delay.
The Overwatch League is not going to be delayed
It's really not practical to respond to every rumor about our future plans, but in this case this story is inaccurate. We have not set nor communicated dates about our 2022 season yet but do not plan to take a 'year-long hiatus' in any scenario we are considering currently. https://t.co/hDJwN2szb5
— Jon Spector (@Spex_J) August 11, 2021
Jon Spector effectively shut down all talks of a delay with a single tweet. Responding to an article claiming that the OWL will go on a "year-long hiatus", the OWL VP outright says that the "story is inaccurate". He also confirmed that the OWL has not considered taking a 1-year break.
According to the original report from GGrecon, the Overwatch League's delay had something to do with Overwatch 2.
It's worth noting that Blizzard, as a company, is going through some major restructuring. This is the result of the fallout from the recent sexual harassment lawsuit against it.
In all honesty, Blizzard had every reason to delay the start of OWL's next season, and clearly needs time to get its internal affairs in order. Even if the key personnel who departed are not involved with Overwatch right now, the company must be in disarray. Giving the Overwatch team a bit more time would have made perfect sense. However, Blizzard apparently believes it has everything under control.
With that said, neither Spector nor Blizzard has confirmed the start date for the 2022 season of the OWL. The only thing that we are guaranteed right now is that Blizzard will not delay the 2022 OWL season for a year.