Publishers and tournament hosts have shown solidarity and mobilized all efforts to help in the global fight against COVID-19 after canceling dozens of flagship esports events and gaming conferences.
COVID-19 Hits the Esports Industry Cancelling Nearly All Flagship Events
With the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to over 149 countries, the disease has prompted the esports world into postponing, canceling, or rescheduling a number of competitions and conferences.
The virus has claimed over 5,300 lives globally and has spread with new severity outside China where it originated.
After shutting a number of mainstream sports leagues, fears that the virus may spill over to the gamers’ community have prompted organizers to follow suit and suspend events on an unprecedented scale.
Affecting Major Esports Events: CS:GO, Dota 2 & Others
The biggest hits have been the cancellation of IEM Katowice’s public format when the Governor of Silesia, the region where Katowice is based, ordered the event to remain behind closed doors, staving off the thousands of players and fans who visit the city annually to partake in the event.
Meanwhile, the FLASHPOINT League decided to postpone its April playoffs in Stockholm and the ESL Pro League Season 11 has shifted its format online, allowing teams to partake in an online qualification and competition format.
Dota 2 will have to skip the ESL One Los Angeles 2020 Dota Major altogether, however, due to the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump. ESL is already looking into alternatives, though, hoping to find an alternative location for the event with Valve.
League of Legends and the NBA 2K Suspended
Coping with the threat of the spread, League of Legends franchised leagues had to be suspended, Riot Games reported. Both the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) and the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) will have to wait before they can take place.
Meanwhile, the LEC Spring Finals have been relocated to the LEC Studios in Berlin, but live attendance has been suspended corresponding with similar measures elsewhere. China’s League of Legends Pro League has gone as intended, only the format has shifted online, which is a viable solution.
Meanwhile, League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) has been understandably suspended after the country was among the Asian countries to be hit the worst by COVID-19. In other related news, the NBA has decided to suspend not only its regular season but also the NBA 2K League.
The esports competition has not been suspended outright, but rather, the NBA has decided to delay the opening date – flexibility that’s easy to achieve in esports.
Overall, the esports world is definitely affected and competitions are not the only aspect of the industry to have suffered. Outside of the already mentioned events, there have also been restrictive measures for:
- The Overwatch League
- Call of Duty
- Fighting Games
- Rocket League
The list grows even further when you consider games such as Free Fire, Farmer Simulator, and Pokémon. Meanwhile, a number of industry expos have been canceled to help the attempt to contain the virus in the west.
Some of the events to have been postponed or canceled altogether include: Twitch Con Amsterdam, E3 2020, SXSW 2020, DreamHack Tours in France, Minecraft Festival 2020, and many others.