By The Canadian Press on March 11, 2020.

London Spitfire fan Rick Ybarra, of Plainfield, Ind., reacts after London won the second game against the Philadelphia Fusion during the Overwatch League Grand Finals competition in New York on July 28, 2018. The Toronto Defiant esports team has cancelled its planned Overwatch League event in Toronto next month because of concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak. “In the spirit of acting responsibly and with an abundance of caution for our players and fans alike – we have decided to cancel our Toronto Defiant homestand that was scheduled for April 17-19 at Roy Thomson Hall,” said Chris Overholt, president and CEO of OverActive Media, which owns the Defiant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Mary Altaffer

TORONTO – The Toronto Defiant esports team has cancelled its planned Overwatch League event in Toronto next month because of concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak.

“In the spirit of acting responsibly and with an abundance of caution for our players and fans alike – we have decided to cancel our Toronto Defiant homestand that was scheduled for April 17-19 at Roy Thomson Hall,” said Chris Overholt, president and CEO of OverActive Media, which owns the Defiant.

Other teams are also affected. The Overwatch League announced that all remaining March and April matches will be played online.

“The health and safety of employees, fans, players, teams, and partners is paramount to Activision Blizzard Esports,” the league said in a statement.

“We are continuing to closely monitor COVID-19 (coronavirus), city-level recommendations and mandates, and all guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

“Overwatch” is a team-based, first-person shooter video game from Blizzard Entertainment that has spawned a worldwide esports league. Toronto and the Vancouver Titans are the Canadian members of the 20-team league.

The April homestand, billed as the ‘Spring Siege’ Homestand, was to be Toronto’s first, featuring five other Overwatch League teams.

The Overwatch League, which started by holding its games in a studio, has expanded to have teams host selected matches.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 11, 2020.

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