Coronavirus Esports Precautions: A Summary Of Affected Gaming Events To Date
With the coronavirus crisis still raging strong and more and more countries and regions suffering from outbreaks, it’s no surprise that several countries have placed restrictions on public get-togethers, and many places have issued quarantine notices.
While Asia is certainly bearing the brunt of it, other regions, especially southern Europe are also struggling to cope with the effects of this virus. Internationally, many events have been canceled, rescheduled or postponed – of course, this includes esports events.
Here is a list of the major events and tournaments that have been affected as of the 10th of March 2020:
League of Legends:
Riot has canceled post-game fan interactions and player handshakes for North American events, while the Korean events launched without a live audience, allowing only players and press in. By now, the LCK has halted operations, pending a possible switch to online formats. The European league relocated from Berlin to Budapest for their Spring Split finals but has not otherwise altered its plans.
Hit hardest was the Chinese league – it started earlier and was closest to the original outbreak area. During the regular pause for the lunar new year, Shanghai postponed all esports events – as a result, the LPL moved to an online format for the rest of the season. Despite this, they still plan to hold this year’s Worlds.
Other League events have also gone without live audiences and moved to online-only formats. On a positive note, some pro players in Korea have donated part of their salaries to help Coronavirus victims!
Overwatch & other Blizzard games:
Having moved to a homestead system just this season, the Overwatch League has had to cancel several of them, specifically the ones in Asia. Matches were rescheduled and/or canceled as well as postponed. Blizzard has said that they would not ask their players to go to any of those locations until it was safe for them to do so.
Their Hearthstone Masters Tour LA was moved to an online-only event, after having already been relocated away from its initial location in Indonesia. Further changes may still happen – Blizzard was one of the first to react to the Coronavirus issues. Even for US Homesteads in the OWL, precautions have been announced.
While normally the CSGO IEM Katowice finals feature a large public audience, the event was run without spectators, while their new league Flashpoint moved entirely to the US and canceled finals in Stockholm in April.
Given its strong presence in Asia, the Fighting games community was hit particularly hard. Made up of small grassroots tournaments and culminating in events like the EVO, a lot of said smaller tournaments have had to cancel, reschedule or move online. Due to the small-scale format, a lot of event organizers have been pressured to cancel, but even larger events like the Capcom Pro Tour have been affected. Several events in Europe were removed from the tour, and even the Tokyo Tekken Masters event was postponed.
Final Kombat, a Chicago-based Mortal Kombat 11 tournament canceled a last-chance qualifier and also cut off public access to the tournament.
Other Gaming Events:
The live event for the Rocket League Season 9 WCS was canceled, along with the 2020 Pokemon Europe Championships. Twitchcon Amsterdam was also canceled, as was the GDC earlier this year. EA has announced that several of the Apex Legends Global Series, as well as FIFA Global Series events, would be postponed or canceled. The Free Fire Champions Cup 2020 set in Indonesia has been postponed as well.
Perhaps the only major games to not have made changes (yet) are Call of Duty and Dota 2. No events have been rescheduled, canceled or majorly affected, though players traveling from China and Italy, as well as a few other places with strong outbreaks, will face issues regarding travel restrictions, quarantines, and potential Visa acquisition problems.