Three more esports tournaments have been forced to change their plans in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic: The League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) and League of Legends European Championship (LEC) Spring Splits will now be broadcast from studio locations, without audiences or press in attendance, while the ESL One Dota 2 Major scheduled to run March 20-22 in Los Angeles has been postponed.
Last week, the LEC announced that its spring finals event would take place in its Berlin studio, rather than the originally planned location of Budapest, but said at the time that it would still be played out in front of a live audience. Today, however, it updated the plan again to eliminate audiences and press attendance for the rest of the Spring Split, including the finals.
"This is not a decision we made lightly, however the health and safety of our pro players, fans, press, and staff is and will always be our top priority. We will continue to monitor the situation and listen closely to the advice of health and governmental authorities," the LEC said in a statement. "For any fans who have already purchased tickets to the LEC you will be contacted shortly about a refund. We apologize for the disappointment this will cause, and thank you for your continuing support."
LCS commissioner Chris Greeley posted a similar message to Twitter. "After carefully monitoring the situation around Covid-19 (aka coronavirus), we've come to the difficult decision to suspend the live audience, tailgates, and press at the LCS Studios until further notice," Greeley said. "As a league, we need to stand by our policy of putting the safety of our pros, fans, and employees first. The LCS and Academy games will continue as scheduled and will be broadcast from the LCS Studios."
An update from Chris Greeley, LCS Commissioner pic.twitter.com/ob7GhlROFUMarch 12, 2020
The LCS is still working to determine whether to continue the spring finals in Frisco, Texas as planned, or move it to the LCS Arena in Los Angeles; a decision on that is expected by the end of next week.
ESL, which yesterday announced that the ESL Pro League Season 11 will be played entirely online, pulled the plug on the ESL One Dota 2 Major planned for Los Angeles. There's no word on rescheduling but information on ticket refunds is expected in the coming days.
"While we were all very excited to bring the first-ever Dota 2 Major to Los Angeles, the safety and well-being of our players, attendees, coaches, talent, partners and ESL crew come first," it said. "We are working closely with Valve to determine a new time and location for the Major. We are deeply disappointed but believe this outcome is in the best interest of all of the people who make these incredible events possible."
We're maintaining a roundup of esports competitions and other gaming events that have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak that you can keep up with here.
For more information on the Covid-19 coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control for updates in North America, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, or the World Health Organization.