Blizzard cancels Chinese Overwatch League events over coronavirus threat

Overwatch League has announced that all fixtures hosted in China during the first two months of the competition have been cancelled due to safety concerns amid the coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement, Overwatch League says the decision was made to “protect the health and safety of our players, fans, and staff,” but reassures fans the league is “incredibly excited” to host games in China later in the season. There is currently no word on when or where these matches will take place in the future.

The call to cancel the Chinese homestand events will affect five game weeks throughout February and March in the Pacific Conference. The team most affected will be Guangzhou Charge, who were set to host three events throughout the opening two months. Both Hangzhou Spark and Shanghai Dragons were set to host one event each in that period. The fourth Chinese team in the Overwatch League, Chengdu Hunters, are not scheduled to host an event until July.

The coronavirus outbreak has led to delays in other esports events in Asia. The second week of the LPL, the Chinese League of Legends league, has been postponed, while the Korean league, the LCK, will kick off without a live audience after deciding to play its opening week behind closed doors.

The opening weekend of the Overwatch League (Feb 8-9) will not be affected by cancellations as the two homestands are both US-based, with New York Excelsior hosting the Atlantic teams and Dallas Fuel hosting the Pacific teams.