As both Korean teams in the Overwatch League – SK Telecom T1 and SK Telecom Giants – prepared to head out to Shanghai on Friday for the start of their first regular season matches, the organizers of the second-year league moved a pair of postponed matches to the Korea Qualifier arena that will host a makeup game for last weekend’s North American New York Excelsior and Shanghai Dragons match to allow players from both teams to safely traverse the region to participate in the matches.
There have been 12 deaths in South Korea linked to a coronavirus that appears to have been transmitted through close contact with the body fluids of a patient who visited a hospital in December.
The league’s on-site World Cup medical unit and its medical and medical coordinator, both from the North American National Overwatch League team, have been in Korea since Sunday to ensure safety of the players and to ensure they can cross the border safely.
In a statement released late Friday, Blizzard said: “The league and Team Seoul requested the relocated matches to help facilitate travel for players, coaches, staff, and fans to attend this week’s matches. We agreed to accommodate their request. In accordance with League guidelines, teams will be given an equal playing field and have equal opportunity to win or lose the matches when they are paired up against one another. In addition, there is no additional risk to the players other than remaining the same distance from one another on the same playing field.”
The match pitting the Philadelphia Fusion against the Paris Seguin was moved to Map 1, while the third match pitting the Los Angeles Valiant against the Houston Outlaws was moved to Map 4. Both are scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. Saturday. The match between the London Spitfire and the New York Excelsior has been moved to Amgen Arena in Chiba, and is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. Saturday.