Novel Conoravirus has significantly affected several industries in China. Esports (particularly Overwatch League) is one of them.
On January 29th, Shanghai Dragons tweeted on their official twitter account that they will be soon moving their players and other staff i.e., coaches, etc. from China to South Korea. The reason behind them taking this step is none other than Coronavirus.
Official Overwatch also tweeted,
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) January 30, 2020
For the ones who do not know, Coronavirus is a type of virus that causes respiratory diseases/infections. It has infected hundreds of people living in Wuhan till now. And reports of more and more cases come out with every passing day. However, the Chinese Government is taking all the necessary measures to prevent the virus from spreading any further.
The Shanghai Dragons are not the first ones to move to South Korea because of this crisis. Another great Overwatch League Chinese team– The Guangzhou Charge was the first one to relocate its entire team base to South Korea temporarily. The renowned League of Legends has canceled their esports events in mainland China as well.
Even the Overwatch League was scheduled to return in February of this year. However, with the massive outbreak of the virus, there is still no confirmation whether they would reschedule/delay the league or not.
Like Guangzhou, The Shanghai Dragons also put up an official statement. They briefly explained the whole coronavirus outbreak situation. And the urgent measures their team has decided to take.
In their statement posted on twitter, the Shanghai dragons mentioned how the well being and safety of the players is their top priority. And how they always make sure that their team practices in a safe environment. Because of the recent situation, they have decided to relocate their team temporarily to South Korea as soon as possible. It includes all of their players and coaching members. Their stay in Korea is still not definite. One can not predict whether their relocation will affect the upcoming Homestand. This decision can result in other Chinese teams that are left, also moving out of China because of the virus.
Update regarding the safety of our team and our plan moving forward. pic.twitter.com/VQRv7FlAuW
— Shanghai Dragons (@ShanghaiDragons) January 29, 2020
The Shanghai Dragons were supposed to play in their home city for the first time in the second week of February. However, the team has not issued an official statement about this yet. But given the circumstances and massive outbreak, it seems highly unlikely that the team will get to play in their city on the expected date.
The fans of Shanghai Dragons were particularly worried about Min Seong Diem. He is one of the players in the team. Diem has suffered from respiratory diseases in the past. He has taken several leaves too. The virus’s presence in the region of their stay would affect him the most.
However, it will deeply sadden the fans if they delay (if not cancel) the whole tournament. They have been eagerly waiting for this league tournament. And people are rooting for their home team to perform in the city.
One can not be sure about what the future holds for esports in China. Or all the delayed/rescheduled events. No one knows if the organizers will eventually cancel them or not. But we can not underestimate the effects of Coronavirus. The disease is spreading rigorously. And it has handicapped the lives of hundreds of people.
Like the Shanghai Dragons also mention in their post, we should look out for any further updates by the team or the Overwatch League itself. We hope their stay will not be for a long time.