Devon H. January 28, 2020
Reacting to the spread of the coronavirus, the Overwatch League’s Guangzhou Charge announced its plans to relocate its training camp from China to South Korea.
The coronavirus has ravaged China in recent months, resulting in 45 million Chinese citizens being quarantined across several cities. The death toll currently stands at 106 victims and there are no signs of the pandemic slowing down. Cases of the disease have been identified in countries around the world.
The disease has also had a profound impact on Chinese esports events and China-based esports organizations.
The Charge are trying to act quickly to ensure a strong start to the season, and have already sent their non-Chinese players to Korea. Visa requirements for Chinese residents has made this difficult, however. Guangzhou Charge staff are attempting to expedite the process and send personnel overseas as soon as possible.
Pacific-Eastern division teams and the OWL are discussing possible solutions for the upcoming season. With February 8 approaching quickly, Blizzard is being pressed to find a fix.
Coronavirus further hurts build to OWL Season 3
Overwatch League Season 3 was set to shake up the esports formula by having franchised teams host “homestand” events in their home cities. While that pivot to a traditional sports formula is interesting it has also attracted a great deal of controversy, with sources telling WIN.gg that there are players set to protest the increased travel requirements that go along with this change.
The outbreak of the coronavirus makes matters even more troublesome. A number of public events in China, including China’s top League of Legends competition, have been cancelled or postponed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Naturally, this could have a serious impact on the Overwatch League both in terms of events being hosted in the country and teams based in the country being able to compete elsewhere. While this is out of Blizzard’s control, it adds on to what has already been a troublesome build to the season.
Blizzard has not yet made any sort of public statement on the matter, but expect more stories like this to pop up over the coming weeks.