The esports leagues and events affected by coronavirus
The current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has disrupted life around the globe, and that extends to the esports industry as well.
Numerous recent and upcoming events and leagues have been cancelled, postponed, or altered as a result of the coronavirus spread, and the list seems to grow daily as more and more organizers respond to the growing threat.
Here is our up-to-date list of events that have been affected to date, sorted by game.
The first major event in the Apex Legends Global Series, set to be held from March 13-15th from Arlington, Texas, has been postponed until a later date that has yet to be determined.
Call of Duty
Activision Blizzard has cancelled all home series weekends for the rest of the season. The matches will be played online instead and broadcast to fans, with new dates to be announced. The league debuted earlier this year and was only able to hold four live competitions before the rest were cancelled.
“Call of Duty League has seen firsthand the power of our live events in our inaugural season, and will return to city-based competition in front of live audiences as soon as it is safe and logistically possible,” reads a statement posted to Twitter.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
ESL’s IEM Katowice has been one of the most prominent events affected by coronavirus to date, as the Polish Gouverneur of Silesia ordered the annual CS:GO event closed to the public just before it began. The competition was held in the arena without fans in attendance.
The new FLASHPOINT league will hold its competition within a Los Angeles studio without an audience, and has cancelled a planned April playoffs event in Stockholm. Meanwhile, ESL has decided to play ESL Pro League Season 11 matches online, with the finals to be held at a closed European studio rather than an Arena in Denver, Colorado.
ESL and Valve postponed March’s ESL One Los Angeles 2020 Dota 2 Major due in part to both the spread of coronavirus and the United States’ travel ban. ESL says that it is “working closely with Valve to determine a new time and location” for the event.
GIANTS Software’s Farming Simulator League also held a competition at IEM Katowice without an audience, and then announced that upcoming tournaments will be held at a newly-opened studio in Erlangen, Germany. That approach will continue until the league can continue holding competitions at large-scale public events.
Electronic Arts made a few changes to its FIFA Global Series competitive calendar, cancelling March’s FUT Champions Cup Stage V in Bucharest and May’s PlayStation Licensed Qualifying Event, while the CONMEBOL eLibertadores Online & Live Event has been postponed until a later date. Additionally, the cancellation of SXSW in Austin, Texas also resulted in the postponement of the event’s eMLS Cup competition.
Bandai Namco’s first Tekken Masters Tournament for 2020 in Tokyo has been postponed until a later time this year. The event was planned for April 4-5th, but no new date has been announced yet. Also, April’s Mixup event has been postponed, and the company has made changes to the Soulcalibur World Tour schedule.
The Mortal Kombat 11 championship, titled Final Kombat 2020, was ultimately held without an audience in Chicago. Meanwhile, the Capcom Pro Tour for Street Fighter V removed the Brussels Challenge 2020, Norcal Regionals 2020, and April Annihilation 2020 from its competitive schedule.
The new unofficial Smash World Tour for Super Smash Bros. has decided to hold no Gold or Platinum-level events in March or April, although Silver-level opt-in events will still be held. Panda Global has also frozen its Panda Global Ranking for pro players.
The Hearthstone Masters Tour competition was originally moved from Indonesia to Los Angeles in February, but in March, Blizzard Entertainment announced that the event would instead be held online and broadcast to viewers. Blizzard will compensate competitors for travel expenses up to $1,500 (£1,191.15) apiece.
League of Legends
All of Riot Games’ major active League of Legends competitions have been impacted in some manner. Both the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) and League of Legends European Championship (LEC) have opted to continue playing without live audiences and press, as well as tailgate events.
Additionally, the LEC Spring Finals were moved from Budapest to the LEC Studios in Berlin, and the event will no longer host a live audience. Riot Games is still evaluating the status of the LCS Spring Finals, which is planned for Frisco, Texas but could move to the LCS Studio in Los Angeles. “We would advise fans not to make any new travel arrangements until we make an additional announcement,” writes LCS commissioner Chris Greeley.
China’s League of Legends Pro League moved play online for this season and implemented restrictions, such as a 14-day mandatory quarantine period for all players before they can play. Meanwhile, play in League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) has been suspended until further notice.
One day after the NBA suspended play for the season due to coronavirus, the NBA 2K League followed suit by delaying the start of the 2020 season. Preseason matches will be played online as teams remain in their respective home markets, but the season will not begin on March 24th as planned.
Activision Blizzard has cancelled all Overwatch League homestand events through the end of April, at present. Previously, the league cancelled competitions in China and South Korea, but ultimately opted to call off the rest of the live events in March and April. The matches will still be played and broadcast online, but not held in the various planned cities.
April’s PUBG Global Series: Berlin event was one of the first esports competitions canceled in 2020, with PUBG Corporation making the announcement in early February. It was the first event of the 2020 season for PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS.
Additionally, the PUBG Mobile Pro League – starting March 19th – will be an online-only competition.
April’s Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) Season 9 World Championship has been cancelled and will not be made up. Instead, Psyonix has added $250,000 of the planned prize pool across the four respective regional championships.
Additionally, RLCS commentators and producers will no longer broadcast weekly league play matches from a studio, instead working remotely for the foreseeable future. Psyonix has announced plans to develop additional online regional tournaments, as well.
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