The team organized to represent Hong Kong in this year's Overwatch World Cup has just met its fundraising goal of $80,000 HK (about $10,000 USD) due to a sudden burst of donations. This is in part thanks to the talent of the team's roster and staff, but also as a response to Blizzard's recent decision to harshly punish Hearthstone player Blitzchung.
Due to a change in the structure of this year's Overwatch World Cup, only the teams determined to be the top 10 most popular and/or likely to succeed will have their trip to BlizzCon in Anaheim, CA paid for by Blizzard, where the tournament will take place in its entirety. This contrasts last year's competition, where qualifying teams were determined by a series of regional tournaments.
Any other team hoping to compete in the World Cup this year will be required to raise any and all funds themselves, which has meant that many teams not already selected to be among the top 10 have launched online fundraisers. The Fire Dragons, as Team Hong Kong has dubbed itself, are among these teams, having launched their fundraising campaign in early August.
The team is fully aware of recent events around Hearthstone and @blitzchungHS , and we are discussing future plans for Team Hong Kong with our players. Please allow time for us to make the proper and right decision, thank you for your support as always.— FIRE DRAGONS 🇭🇰 #OWWC2019 (@OWTeamHongKong) October 10, 2019
- Derek, General Manager
On October 8th, Blizzard barred Hearthstone player Blitzchung from competing in future Hearthstone tournaments for a year and revoked his $10,000 in prize earnings due to his open support of the ongoing protests in Hong Kong on a tournament stream. Since then, Blizzard has yet to respond to a massive outpouring of solidarity with Blitzchung, leading many players to boycott Blizzard games and/or delete their accounts. Others with the means to do so have expressed support for Hong Kong protesters on stream, and at the Blizzard HQ, some employees walked out during work hours.
Team Hong Kong very likely received such a sudden and massive influx of donations due to those processing both Blizzard's harsh punishment of Blitzchung, and their failure to address the backlash that has followed, looking for an outlet to reckon with Blizzard's actions (and subsequent lack thereof). By successfully crowdfunding Team Hong Kong's ticket to Blizzcon, the contentious political climate—limiting of speech in the U.S., and actual violence abroad—will be more likely to become a topic of conversation at the very least, in a climate where casters went out of their way to avoid simply saying "Hong Kong" during a League of Legends tournament broadcast. Team Hong Kong very well may be apolitical, but their attendance will almost surely spur many to discuss and bring awareness to the multitude of issues that have arisen since the protests began. Plus, players from a region that's currently severely impacted by ongoing turmoil now have a chance to prove their mettle on an international stage.
Now that the Fire Dragons' fundraising goal has been met, DPS players Mikouw, MoonBlue and Moowe; tanks Amcrazy and Step; and supports MangoJai and YiWind will be attending quite possibly the most contentious Blizzcon ever this November.