Olivia R. April 4, 2020
More changes are coming to the Overwatch League schedule.
Overwatch League matches in China that were previously scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday are now delayed 24 hours. According to an official press release, Saturday's matches will now be played on Sunday and Sunday's matches will take place on Monday. The start times will remain the same.
China has declared April 4 a day of mourning to recognize those that have been impacted by the coronavirus epidemic. Since China first started dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year, the country has confirmed 81,620 cases. Of those reported cases, there have been 3,322 deaths. While 76,571 have recovered, the ongoing pandemic has still impacted many people's lives in various ways.
"With China issuing a national observance on April 4, we are delaying this week's Chinese matches 24 hours," Blizzard tweeted on their OWL account.
Updated Overwatch League schedule for Week 9
Overwatch League matches taking place in North America have remained unchanged, meaning Toronto Defiant and Washington Justice will still face off at 1 PM PST on Saturday. The Los Angeles Gladiators will take on Dallas Fuel after that, followed by Los Angeles Valiant versus San Francisco Shock at 5 PM PST.
After going through a surprisingly difficult weekend of play, the Shock will be looking to redeem themselves as the league's top team. That spot is currently taken over by the Vancouver Titans, their biggest rivals from the previous season.
Sunday has become quite the busy schedule for OWL fans and players. Shanghai Dragons and Hangzhou Spark will be the first teams to square off. This will take place at 1 AM PST, which isn't the most ideal for American viewers. Chengdu Hunters and Guangzhou Charge will compete right after at 3 AM PST. After that, Sunday's original three games will begin at 3 PM PST.
Chengdu Hunters will take on the Shanghai Dragons on Monday at 1 AM PST, followed by a 3 AM PST match between Guangzhou Charge and Hangzhou Spark. While these times are definitely not catering to the North American audience, many fans will most likely attempt to tune in to finally see the Chinese teams square off for the first time this season.
Five homestands were cancelled in China as early as February due to the continued spread of COVID-19, postponing 27 matches. This disrupted not only the four Chinese team's homestand events, but their practice schedules. Two teams even moved their practice facilities to South Korea to stay safe from the virus. Soon after, Seoul Dynasty's homestand weekend was also canceled due to the growing threat of the coronavirus.