Even though this off-season in the Overwatch League has brought a lot of news, this is the first temporary team relocation. The Philadelphia Fusion will move to Seoul, South Korea for the 2021 season to compete in the Pacific Division. After a realignment in division last season, fans were wondering how the teams would be divided in 2021. With the London Spitfire and New York Excelsior being in the APAC region due to their Korean teams, the roster changes might make one of them move back home. We don’t know those two teams’ rosters as of yet, but it seems the Fusion are moving.
— Philadelphia Fusion (@Fusion) December 11, 2020
Ever since the start of the Overwatch League, divisions have existed. Originally, there were only two, Atlantic and Pacific. As the league expanded and homestands became real, it looked to be a solid way to divide the teams. However, the pandemic changed everything. With teams being locked wherever they were and visas being an issue, many teams needed to go home. Plus, many teams had a foreign roster, leading to teams like London or New York having to go to Korea.
This also forced the league to separate the teams into two divisions, but in a much different way than before. With their North American region, every team that could or chose to stay in America would play there. And every other team would play in the APAC region, within Asia and the Pacific. They would play based on their time zone and would only play against teams from the other division if they made it to the Grand Finals weekend. But, for the 2021 season, with many rosters being revamped, this might lead to teams relocating again, temporarily. In this case, the Fusion are going to Seoul.
How this works for the Fusion
While the Fusion aren’t a majority Korean team, the move makes sense for multiple reasons. With the coronavirus being better contained within Korea than America right now, it makes sense that the staff wants the Korean players to feel at home while their other players feel safe. Much like London and New York did last season, they are confident that this choice will improve their team for next season. The risk of having fans from overseas not awake to watch your games consistently exists, but there is one thing that overrides that. Winning. As they mention in their tweet announcing this, they still have the drive to win the championship for Philadelphia. Whether they win it in Seoul or in Philadelphia, I don’t think their fans will care that much.