The Valorant Champions Tour isn’t the only esport event to finally see a live competition and audience. The Overwatch League has announced the first homestand event in over a year.
The Hangzhou Homestand started today and will last the entire weekend. Taking place at the Future Sci-Tech City Academic Exchange Center, Chinese fans were invited to watch all four Chinese teams duke it out on stage under one roof. The first Overwatch League event in China, this is an iconic moment for the OWL and its fanbase.
Looking at the venue and stage, seeing the teams arriving, Spark takeover of the city skyline, etc., makes me so excited for the @Hangzhou_Spark homestand event this weekend!
— Jon Spector (@Spex_J) June 2, 2021
For a while, it seemed unclear if homestands would return in 2021. Blizzard wouldn’t comment if homestands would return this year. Since the Overwatch League relies so heavily on hometown pride and rivalries, it was getting a bit concerning for OWL fans.
But a hybrid model for live events was announced in April, giving Overwatch League fans hope for a vibrant and fun year of competition. The June Joust will be in Hangzhou, with the Shanghai Dragons, Chengdu Hunters, Los Angeles Valiant, and Guangzhou Spark all competing in front of a live audience. The Korean teams will compete online.
The Shanghai Dragons and Guangzhou Spark will also be hosting their own homestands in the near future. The Shanghai Dragons is hosting the Summer Showdown on July 11. The Guangzhou Spark is hosting the Countdown Cup on August 7.
We’ve missed live events so much pic.twitter.com/FvHxJDpMGr
— Shanghai Dragons (@ShanghaiDragons) June 4, 2021
The Overwatch League’s successful homestand weekend was a positive sign for the esports industry. This year has seen a possible return to normalcy with Overwatch’s overseas tournaments and Valorant’s Masters event in Iceland being examples of live esports events retruning in 2021. MSI has also hinted at a return to live venues. The Smash World Tour is hoping to have in-person matches for Phase 2 Regionals now that qualifiers have concluded.