Overwatch

Overwatch League facing Chinese homestand issues with coronavirus scare

by Bill Cooney
Blizzard Entertainment/Robert Paul

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With the Overwatch League’s third season steadily approaching fans are concerned about how the recent outbreak of coronavirus in China will affect scheduled homestand events in the country.

2020 is the first year the Overwatch League is taking its show on the road, with all regular season matches happening at homestand events across the globe.

The so-called coronavirus made world headlines after it appeared in January and at the time of writing, there are more than 800 confirmed cases of it around the world, with 26 deaths linked to the disease all within China, according to the BBC.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ug1ZIHkxT8g

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This disease outbreak couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Overwatch League, which has a homestand scheduled in Shanghai for the second week of the season, starting February 15.

Three weeks before the homestand, Shanghai has already shut down most public gathering places as coronavirus cases continue to appear in the area.

With national governments and bodies like the World Health Organization starting to get involved, the effect the coronavirus will have on homestands in China is most likely at the front of the Overwatch League’s mind.

Shanghai Overwatch League Homestand 2020
Overwatch League
The Shanghai homestand is currently scheduled to begin on Feb. 15, but the Overwatch League could change that.

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There are, realistically, two options for the League if they don't want to risk players, staff, and fans' health by holding the homestand in Shanghai if the situation hasn't improved by mid February.

They could reschedule the matches for later on in the season, but with the rest of the schedule already fleshed out, that might be difficult.

Another option would be to just cancel the matches outright, which no one involved with the League, especially fans, wants to see happen.

Relocating the homestand just weeks before it's scheduled to happen seems very unlikely due to logistics and host of other issues, so fans probably shouldn't expect that to happen.

Philadelphia Fusion win Overwatch League
Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
The Overwatch League still have to officially address how they will handle the upcoming Shanghai homestand.

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It's not just Shanghai though, Guangzhou also has one that begins on February 22, and the Hangzhou Spark host their home matches the next week starting February 28.

With the first Chinese homestand event right around the corner, Overwatch League fans should keep an eye out for official news on the status of the events starting next week.