The Overwatch League announced the cancelation of the Chinese homestands in February and March. This comes as the Coronavirus has become a world wide risk. The coronavirus originated in Wuhan China that is located quite close to Shanghai, which is the location of the week two homestand.
The Seoul Dynasty are a part of the Pacific East Division. In this division with the Dynasty are the Chengdu Hunters, Hangzhou Spark, Guangzhou Charge, and Shanghai Dragons who are also impacted by this decision. This cancelation of the Chinese homestands of February and March will impact seven matches for the Dynasty. Shanghai are affected the most with nine matches, while Seoul, Chengdu, and Hangzhou are tied at seven a piece. This brings into question how will these matches be played out?
10 teams are affected by the coronavirus displacement this season. The teams most affected:
SHD – 9 matches
HZS/CDH/SEO – 7 matches
GZC – 6 matches
VAL – 5 matches
DAL/VAN – 4 matches
SFS/GLA – 3 matches
— The Artist Formerly Known As Seagull-Man (@thibbledork) January 30, 2020
It is possible that the Overwatch League will decide that they will relocate the Chinese homestand matches to another city. There are a few potential problems with this. First there is the fact many teams already have their locations booked and tickets sold to the fans. In the case of Seoul, there was a Tiger Nation Club VIP pass that encompasses both the March and May homestand tickets. If the Overwatch League requested that the Seoul Dynasty pick up another homestand date, so close to the beginning of the league, that would cause the organization, team, and fans to scramble to make it work. On top of that there is the problem of renting DDP or any location as such a short notice.
The next issue that occurs is that even though coronavirus is most associated with China, there are cases in Korea, Europe, America, and Canada. To bring a large amount of fans together in Korea might make some fans uneasy about the health risk. This is not just a risk for the fans, but players will be doing meet and greets that cause them to be in close proximity with many different people. Depending on their walkout, in the Burbank area the players would give hi-fives to the audience. That could also increase the player’s chances of catching an illness.
If the location was not in Korea but changed to America that would impact the amount of travel in Seoul drastically. The Seoul Dynasty, as they are based out of Korea, would be flying back and forth from North America to Korea more than the two times in their original schedule. If the Dynasty decided to stay in America for a prolonged amount of time to counteract this travel, they would need to find housing (probably in California where their Gen G HQ is) and possibly visas. It would be unfair to the players who might have signed to Seoul Dynasty in the hopes of being close to family and loved ones to throw that wrench into the plans.
If physically relocating is not possible for the teams, could online be an option? The Seoul Dynasty, the Guangzhou Charge, and the Shanghai Dragons are all located in South Korea right now (at the time of this article being written). The biggest issue with online matches instead of LAN is ping. That could cause an unfair advantage for one team or location. This has been done before with contenders, so it is not unheard of. The Shanghai Dragons posted and then deleted a tweet that alluded to the online option for the February 15-16 matches. Other sources such as Arnold Hur the COO of Gen G mentioned that nothing had been confirmed yet about what is going to happen. The Shanghai Dragons did delete the first posting and reposted what is shown above. The statement was edited to say that details of the match schedules will be announced soon.
The Overwatch League could go the route of rescheduling these homestands. If fans had already bought tickets it could be that they would not be any to attend the new date. That would complicate matters. The organizations would either have to refund everyone and start at scratch or give priority to buy or exchange fans’ original tickets for new ones. Unfortunately, the venues that were previously booked would have to be rebooked. If the venue was already taken for another event these teams would have to find new locations. The logistics could be a nightmare to figure out, and would probably not be able to make everyone happy.
Rescheduling would also push the Overwatch league time table back. It is unsure what the consequences would be for this change. It would be a longer play season for the players who will already have increased travel time in Season 3. The Seoul Dynasty has a slower end of season originally anyways. Rescheduling could take that break away from the players and staff. Increased travel at the end of the season could potentially wear out the players before playoffs. Yes, Seoul playoffs will be a reality in Season 3.
Seoul Dynasty Conundrum
As of now the Seoul Dynasty homestand in March is still scheduled. Though depending on the course of the Coronavirus that could also change. For now, Tiger Nation is thankful for Gen G. and Seoul Dynasty having their players health and safety as their top concern. It is interesting that the word choice was ‘canceled’ and not ‘rescheduled’ which implies that the matches, at this time, will not happen. This may just be the semantics of getting a statement out or an indication of what the Overwatch League and teams are leaning towards.
Overall it is a great loss to the Chinese teams as well as Chinese fans to lose these homestands. It was a great opportunity to have the teams play in front of their fans. Hopefully they will be able to do so later in the season. The organizations must have put so many resources and so much time into planning their homestands to be perfect. There are many factors in this situation and it is hard to see all the possible repercussions. Though it is said that the first two months will not have any Chinese homestands it was the right decision to protect the staff, fans, and players. As more information comes out The Game Haus will update you on the situation.
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