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The Hangzhou Spark are hosting the first live Overwatch League games of the 2021 season in China.
As the 2020 season had started with homestands, the league aimed to have both home and away games. However, the COVID-19 pandemic grew to a point where all homestands were cancelled. Now, this first weekend of June, the Hangzhou Spark are the first to host live matches in China since early 2020.
Looking at the venue and stage, seeing the teams arriving, Spark takeover of the city skyline, etc., makes me so excited for the @Hangzhou_Spark homestand event this weekend!
— Jon Spector (@Spex_J) June 2, 2021
The first Overwatch League event in China
Seeing the Hangzhou skyline covered in the Spark’s logo is an encouraging sign. The team is finally hosting live games for the Eastern division. Of course, some progress in live games is better than none. Being able to see live LAN games between the top teams in the league is amazing. Additionally, this weekend is the first of Chinese homestands this season. The Shanghai Dragons and Guangzhou Charge will host future events as well for the next two tournaments.
The teams that play this weekend will be competing in the Spark’s facility. This includes the Chengdu Hunters and Guangzhou Charge, who even tweeted upon their arrival in Hangzhou. The Los Angeles Valiant are set to play this weekend as well, but there’s no update on their arrival as of yet.
Will the West follow suit?
Now that we have a stable option for live games again, perhaps the Western division will follow suit. The biggest factors to incorporate in live games in North America would be safety and visa issues; several players have had these issues this season. Only time will tell if this event causes the rest of the league to adapt their plans for the 2021 season.
Polish-Canadian game enthusiast. I've been entrenched in gaming for as long as I can remember, with my first game being Pokemon Yellow and my most played games being Borderlands 2 and Overwatch. I have a degree in Film Studies, but writing about esports just makes my job all the better.