After canceling the first two months of competitions in China due to the coronavirus outbreak, Overwatch League officials announced teams will now make up those matches in Seoul.
The league's statement is a start to solving the logistical challenges brought on by the virus - prioritizing the health of their players while meeting the demands of an international esports league - but there are still some looming hurdles for the teams impacted, including the specific matchups and whether the teams will have any opportunities to recoup on the missed opportunities of the canceled home matches in China.
The coronavirus continues to affect much of the country, as cities and towns in China's Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, are only allowing essential vehicles on the roads. Previously, airlines have canceled flights into parts of China and some nations have imposed travel restrictions. As of Friday, there are 63,000 reported cases in mainland China.
There are four Overwatch teams based in China - the Chengdu Hunters, Guangzhou Charge, Hangzhou Spark and Shanghai Dragons - and three have at least partially relocated their players to South Korea to avoid the coronavirus outbreak. The Hunters are the only Overwatch team with a full roster from mainland China and the team has previously stated they would remain in the country for the start of the season.
In its third season, the Overwatch League has ambitious plans to host a 27-week season in 19 cities across three continents. The rapid spread of the coronavirus in China has forced league officials to upend plans for matches originally scheduled to take place in Shanghai this weekend as the outbreak continues to evolve.
The makeup matches will be held at a studio in Seoul, according to the league's statement, during the sixth and seventh weeks of the regular season in mid-March. A few matches may also be added to Seoul Dynasty's homestand weekend the week prior.
All the matches will air live on YouTube - the official streaming partner for Overwatch League and other Activision Blizzard properties. It's not immediately clear if the matches will be held in front of live audience.