The coronavirus outbreak is now a pandemic gaining ground across the world and affecting at least 140 countries to date, forcing the organizers of many sports – and esports – competitions and events to suspend their activities, in order to prevent the spread.
If there is one topic that has dominated the news cycle since the beginning of the year 2020, it is certainly the novel coronavirus disease, also known as COVID-19. In constant circulation within an ever-increasing number of countries, and with more than 180,000 people tested positive worldwide so far, the virus continues its spread and brings with it its share of vital safety measures to slow down its progression. Since the virus is airborne within a 2-3 foot person-person range, a logical step is to avoid concentrating too many people in one place. These measures apply to a whole host of events and esports competitions.
Riot Games postpones LoL Mid-Season invitational
This is probably the most anticipated League of Legends event after the Worlds. The Mid-Season Invitational, or MSI, is a multiple-day competition that brings together the winning teams from the 12 regions of the Spring Split Pro Circuit, to compete in a NBA All-Stars-weekend-like event. Since its inception in 2013, the event has always delivered on its promises to run at mid-season, just a few months before the World Championships.
Unwilling to take any risks, while still ensuring the successful hosting of this event, Riot announced a few days ago that the MSI 2020 would be postponed from May to July 2020. However, the venue remains unknown, probably because Riot is still looking for a more secure location due to the virus, as well as addressing all the issues involved in organizing such an event, which are clearly not to be taken lightly.
As a direct consequence of this change in the calendar, the Summer Split of the different LoL championships will resume earlier, on average around mid-May (until the end of May for some). The reason is quite simple: the MSI used to act as an event between the Spring and Summer Split, so the decision to adjust the calendar and bring the Splits closer together makes perfect sense. The question now is what Riot is going to pull off for the post-MSI period, which may seem like a long time coming for all LoL fans!
ESL Pro League 11 goes online
Another major event of the CS: GO circuit, the ESL Pro League is not a Major in itself, but the level of competition is very high, due to the large number of top teams attending the event. The ESL announced a few days ago that the tournament would be entirely held online, thus cancelling the offline event.
While some teams may lament the absence of an audience at important matches, ESL announced that all the qualified teams had been very understanding and would organize themselves accordingly for the event. The Swedes from Godsent even invited other teams to their training facilities to prepare for and later compete in the event. What a great spirit!
In order to ensure the safety of players, fans and our crew in the current global dynamics, Season 11 of #ESLProLeague will be played entirely online and the finals will be moved from Denver to a studio location.— ESL Counter-Strike (@ESLCS) March 11, 2020
Full details: https://t.co/qBdmv0QjSj pic.twitter.com/rhT6awYDEQ
Upcoming Overwatch League canceled for the next two months
To conclude on the main competitions that will not take place because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Overwatch League has postponed its scheduled matches for the next 2 months. This decision was initially taken for the sake of the teams, but also with the audience in mind. The OWL is famous for hosting a full-scale show in each of the major cities participating in the competition, with an audience of several hundred people. In the current context, the OWL must cancel all the matches of the competition, for at least two months, as they wait to see how the situation develops.
For more information, check out the official press release here:
E3 2020 is officially canceled
Although it’s not really esports, it’s still about video games. The E3 has always been a true celebration of video games in the world and is definitely the place to be for gamers, due to the presence of some of the world’s biggest publishers and their important announcements. Usually held in June in Los Angeles, the officials announced for the first time ever the outright cancellation of the event, due to concerns over the coronavirus.
While this news has triggered a wave of reactions on social media, most people fully understand the situation and just deplore the loss of such a major event. The organizing committee’s decision comes as no surprise in the context of the current pandemic, where large gatherings of people in confined spaces are now banned.
After the cancellation of E3, the question now arises as to whether the Gamescom 2020 will still be held in Germany a few weeks later, in August. No more information at the moment, but that should not be long in coming…