Esports News

Luci Kelemen
Written By: Luci Kelemen

Telling tales of esports, one word at a time, six years and counting

March 6th, 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has growing global implications, even in out industry. Many esports events were cancelled due to coronavirus, or relocated and postponed to ensure the safety of everyone involved. You can find all esports events affected by the coronavirus epidemic here.

IEM Katowice 2020 - playoffs played without an audience

IEM Katowice: Coronavirus fears mean no audience allowed

One of the biggest CS:GO events on the calendar had to hold its playoff stage without its traditional live audience in the Spodek Arena after a last-minute decision by the authorities despite not having a confirmed case of coronavirus in Poland at the time. The event went on to produce record-breaking numbers, exceeding one million concurrent viewers for the grand finals.

DreamHack Summer - postponed

DreamHack's summer festival was rescheduled on March 19, moved to August 6-9 from June 12-14. DreamHack Masters, the corresponding CS:GO tournament will be rescheduled and moved elsewhere but no final decision has been made as of yet.

ESL One Rio - postponed (replacing the planned Fall 2020 CS:GO Major)

ESL One Belo Horizonte CSGO
ESL One Rio postponed, second CS:GO major of 2020 cancelled

LCK - moved online after indefinite hiatus

League of Legends' Korean esports leagues (both the LCK and Challengers Korea) was put on indefinite hiatus by Riot Games with no set return date. Their Sunday Night LCK talk show will also go on a break. On March 16, Riot released a statement saying "although resuming LCK was not decided, we are checking out every possibility including online matches with considering how many matches left and how many days we might have". In late March, plans were drafted to move LCK and other League of Legends competitions online.

LPL - moved online

Announced as early as February 19, the LPL has also made changes in light of the outbreak, with China's League of Legends Pro League moved online in its entirety.

LEC - moved online after suspension

On March 6, Riot's Head of Esports for Europe has announced that the LEC Spring Finals will be relocated to their Berlin studio. Though they currently pan to host a live audience as part of the program, they "will continue to monitor the situation and work with local health officials to ensure the safety of players and fans, and will revisit this decision if necessary". On March 13, Riot has unexpectedly announced the complete suspension of the competition until further notice, with the matches eventually moved online.

Apex Legends Global Series Texas Major - postponed

EA announced on March 7 that the first big event of the Apex Legends Global Series, originally scheduled March 13-15, will be postponed. The online events will contune without disruption. "While we don’t have a new date to share at this point in time, we’ll look to provide more updates for this Major and its effect on the whole Global Series as soon as we can" - the company added in their statement.

ESL One Los Angeles Major - postponed

On March 12, ESL confirmed that the Dota event would not go ahead as planned, a situation further complicated by the thirty-day ban for Europeans travelling to the US.

4th Dota Minor/Major of the season - cancelled

On March 16, Valve has announced the outright cancellation of the fourth set of DPC events for the 2019/20 season. At the time of writing, it remains unclear how this will affect The International.

E3 2020 - cancelled

On March 10, the Entertainment Software Association has decided to cancel the annual three-day Electronic Entertainment Expo, slated to take place in early June at the Los Angeles Convention Center due to "growing concerns over [the] COVID-19 virus".

FIFA 20 - events postponed and cancelled

On March 9, EA decided to cancel the FUT Champions Cup Stage V Bucharest event of their FIFA 20 Global Series, scheduled for May 2-3. They also opted to postpone the CONMEBOL eLibertadores Online & Live Event (March 7-8). At the time of writing, they only plan to continue with online events, GINX reports.

Overwatch League - multiple homestand events cancelled

In late January, Blizzard announced that they'd cancel future events in China. The new Overwatch League season's second week was set to take place in Shanghai while the fourth was pencilled in for Hangzhou. Both were cancelled, with announcements about the Week 5, 6 and 7 events in South Korea also cancelled on February 24. OWL team Shanghai Dragons has also announced on January 29 that they'd relocate from China to South Korea "effective immediately". On March 10, Paris Eternal's homestand (slated for April 12) was also cancelled as the French government prohibited events with more than 1 000 attendees.

Tokyo Tekken Masters - indefinitely postponed

Bandai Namco decided to delay the first event of the 2020 Tekken World Tour, originally slated to take place in Japan's capital on April 4-5. Their announcement was made on March 2, and the developers added that they may also postpone the eligible Dojo tournaments for the season.

The Tekken World Tour and the SoulCaliber World Tour as a whole has seen multiple events pulled in light of the global health situation, with The MIXUP in France postponed until July.

Magic the Gathering - multiple Grand Prix events cancelled

Concerns over coronavirus has led to the cancellation of Grand Prix events in Detroit, Sao Paulo, Louisville and Palm Beach.

Pokémon Europe International Championships 2020 - cancelled

Slated to take place in Berlin on April 17-19, the entire event was cancelled "out of an abundance of caution and pursuant to the current recommendations set forth by public health officials". The North American iteration of the event is currently still set to go ahead in June. It remains to be seen whether the global finals in London on August 14-16 will be affected by this development.

Hearthstone Masters Tour Los Angeles - moved online

After initially moving the event from Bali to the USA, Blizzard has announced on March 6 that the entire event will be moved online for the safety of the participants. Future tournaments are unaffected at this time but they advise "booking flexible travel plans as well as obtaining travel insurance".

How well do you know your Hearthstone Grandmasters?

Capcom Pro Tour 2020 - three events pulled from the calendar

Brussels Challenge 2020, Norcal Regionals 2020 and April Annihilation 2020 have all been cancelled. To keep the Capcom Pro Tour intact, the points originally allocated to these events were completely removed from the pool.

TwitchCon Amsterdam - cancelled

On March 6, Twitch has annnounced that they will cancel their Amsterdam event due to the coronavirus outbreak. The company stated that it would provide a full refund to ticket holders.

Point Blank World Championship 2020 - cancelled

The developers decided to cancel the event late February after each of Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea became a coronavirus threat.

Free Fire Champions Cup - indefinitely postponed

One of the most popular mobile esports in the world, Free Fire has over 500 million registered users, mostly in countries like Brazil, Indonesia and India. Scheduled for April 19 in Jakarta, the developers of the 50-player battle royale title posted on Facebook on March 6th that they will be postponing their world championship event, intending to "hold the event at a later date [...] once conditions allow".

Dota 2
Valve announces complete revamp of competitive Dota 2, regional leagues

Rocket League Season 9 World Championship - live event cancelled

Psyonix put out a communique on March 5 announcing that they will cancel the live event portion of the upcoming Rocket League Season 9 World Championship finals, slated to take place on April 24-26 in Texas. They also decided to move the broadcasts for the rest of the season completely online in order to further protect the health and well-being of the broadcast talent as well.

FLASHPOINT Season 1 - Stockholm playoffs moved to LA, regular season moved online

FLASHPOINT teams and schedule

The new, team-owned CS:GO league, slated to start on March 13, has just announced they will not bring the playoffs broadcast to Stockholm as originally planned, opting to film and run the entire season from their Los Angeles studio to ensure the health and safety of the players. On March 16, they've announced that contrary to their previous plans, they will move the regular season games online, with a delay to accommodate this adjustment.

As global health authorities struggle to contain the coronavirus outbreak, it's likely that further events will be curtailed, postponed or cancelled to protect the participants. If that happens, we will update this list.