Jessica S. February 24, 2020
The Overwatch League has announced that it has cancelled the upcoming homestand in Seoul, South Korea. This follows OWL calling off homestand events that were set to take place in China. Both of these cases stem from concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.
The decision comes after South Korea raised the threat level earlier today, which empowers the country’s government to lock down cities. The number of recorded cases is currently 763, with six reported deaths. Outbreaks in Iran and Italy are causing concern that a global pandemic may occur.
The Seoul Dynasty’s inaugural homestand was set to be held on March 7 and 8, but will now be rescheduled. This is doubly frustrating for the Overwatch League and its pro players, as the Seoul homestand was supposed to host some of the cancelled games from Chinese homestands. Now the fate of the matches is unknown.
Player safety is a major concern for the OWL right now, considering that many teams bootcamped in Seoul ahead of the 2020 season. Some Chinese teams also moved their home base to Seoul to protect the health of their players and ensure easier international travel.
This is another major roadblock for OWL’s competitive schedule, as the five cancelled Chinese homestands represented 27 matches in total to be played by the Pacific East and Pacific West teams. With the Seoul Dynasty homestand cancelled, the number of matches that need to be rescheduled rises to 33.
Fortunately for Dynasty fans, the tickets for the matches will be refunded and Blizzard has said that the matches will be rescheduled. So far, none of the teams currently living in Seoul have discussed plans to relocate.
The coronavirus has been a devastating blow to esports in 2020. Dota 2, League of Legends, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds have all seen notable events either delayed or cancelled due to travel restrictions and health concerns.