From August 13-15, 2021, the Hangzhou Spark were prepped to host the final homestand of the original Overwatch era of the Overwatch League. The stage setup to the overall layout of the venue was all set in stone for the weekend. Until the week prior to the event, Hangzhou had almost every component of their event ready for fans to enjoy.
Unfortunately, it never came to fruition.
Spark My Homestand
The Guangzhou Charge were originally supposed to host their homestand for the Countdown Cup qualifiers on August 7. But the event was cancelled after another pandemic spike in the province of Guangdong. The Spark stepped up to the table to help pick up the slack. But just as the event it was meant to replace, the increase in cases in China meant live events were no longer a viable option, including one in Hangzhou.
Update regarding the Countdown Cup Homestand originally scheduled for this August: pic.twitter.com/E1gsvoFKGQ
— Guangzhou Charge (@GZCharge) June 22, 2021
While fans were not able to experience the atmosphere of a homestand in August, fans – and design enthusiasts – alike were treated to a surprise on September 10. The Spark decided to release concept art and potential elements that would have been a part of their August homestand. Dubbed “Spark My Love”, the event was created to go above and beyond a typical homestand including a whole new theme and presentation style unique to that weekend.
Without the cancellation of this event, many fans around the world may not have been given this amount of insight into what goes on at a APAC homestand without actually attending one.
Spark My Artwork
The event was named “Spark My Love” since the weekend fell on Chinese Valentine’s day: Qixi. With this, the initial concept of the weekend as a whole would have revolved around the holiday of Qixi while instilling the culture of the city of Hangzhou.
The team then showcased the graphics of what would have been shown on the LED walls behind the players. Firstly, the large main screen would have featured the typical pink and blue look of the Spark with a hyper-stylized script font showcase alongside the event countdown. But what is more intriguing is the liberal use of yellow in these splash screens. The colour yellow is not typically used in Spark marketing, so it is interesting to see Hangzhou use it specifically for this weekend.
Spark My Visuals
– MAIN VISION ON SCREEN –
— Hangzhou Spark (@Hangzhou_Spark) September 11, 2021
Next, Hangzhou revealed the team animations for both sides during the matchups. This art is taken from the 2020 OWL Playoff design, but the animation is modified to complement the Spark’s tech-wear/anime style of marketing.
Spark My Badge
Surprisingly, the Spark even went into depth about the elements of their homestand with their ID badges and merch items. The homestand’s ID badges were designed to separate people from specific areas. On top of the specific color choices for roles from VIP to staff, etc., each badge also featured “puzzle pieces”, which represented the areas of the arena. The jigsaw puzzle was created to segregate the arena into 9 sections, and based on what pieces were filled out on your puzzle, those would be the sections a person had access to. On the back of each badge, is a legend of which section was which.
The intricate design details of how the badges would have worked were far more sophisticated and creative than a typical event lanyard. It would have added to the already one-of-a-kind ambiance.
Spark My Merch
In terms of merchandise, much of the stock revolved around the Qixi concept. After the league departed from their Fanatics exclusivity deal, teams could now create unique merch items. From a necklace to keychains to an event-exclusive enamel pin, Hangzhou were prepared to upgrade that of typical OWL merch. The freedom of creating their own merchandise materials would have tied everything together with the “Spark My Love homestand-only concept” Hangzhou was going for.
Spark My 2022 OWL
As a whole, many were disappointed at the lack of homestands during the 2021 Overwatch League season. The circumstances that led to their cancellations, however, also gave us an in-depth look into the hard work and dedication these teams go for when creating a weekend for their hometown fans. The team created vent-specific concepts to limited-time merchandise items only for it to be canceled a week before.
The Hangzhou Spark were prepared to go all-in with creating the best homestand of classic 6v6 pro Overwatch.
The league has not announced anything regarding homestands for the 2022 season. But if the “Spark My Love” event was to be the last of what fans know currently as “homestands” then it was primed to be a great weekend of Overwatch.
Here is hoping that the Overwatch 2 era of the OWL allows for creativity such as this to flourish in 2022 with the potential evolution of homestands.
Follow Jordy on Twitter: @JRDNGRCA for everything Overwatch League Homestands and more like this Spark My Love piece.
Featured Image Courtesy of the Overwatch League.
Spark August Homestand
“From Our Haus to Yours”