While almost all major sporting events have been canceled due to the Covid-19 outbreak, gaming events and esports competitions around the world have also been affected by the continued spread of the coronavirus, so many events are now shifting to a purely online approach.
Similar to other sporting events, esports tournaments and leagues include the public gathering of players, fans, and the press. Many games have been temporarily suspended while organizers switch from in-person LAN events to online formats to limit the spread of the disease. During these online-only events, the tournaments will be broadcast online to their audience. Most organizers are currently working on this change and will be posting the new schedules soon.
Many leagues have already announced online broadcasts to replace their scheduled tournaments and some are already returning in a new online format, including the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS). The weekends now offer great esports leagues to cheer on.
Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO)
ESL has announced that the final of this first ESL championship in 2020 in CS: GO will take place on 30./31. May and will only be played online, without players or spectators on site. The current season will continue as planned. According to the announcement on the ESL website, various options are currently under review as to how the finals can best be implemented in different cases and the teams will be informed as soon as the details are worked out.
With regard to the final of the 11th season of the ESL Pro League planned for Denver, the ESL made it clear that the final was moved to a studio location in Europe with no live audience in order to minimize travel expenses and reduce the risk of potential travel restrictions. Teams and players would play their games either from home, from team houses or at suitable boot camp locations on their own online servers.
League of Legends (LoL)
Other sports are affected in a similar way. The top professional League of Legends competitions in Europe and North America, the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) and the League of Legends European Championship (LEC), have both announced that their games will be played at the events with no fans present and no press will.
The LCS has been back since Saturday March 21st and games will be played online with five instead of the usual four games each day of the LCS until the Spring Split Final, which ends on Sunday April 19th. The full schedule can be viewed here and the games can be followed on the LCS Twitch channel.
The League of Legends European Championship teams will play fully online every weekend for the remainder of spring through the finals on April 18- 19. The full schedule of the LEC can be found here and games can be viewed on the LEC’s Twitch channel.
Activision-Blizzard Esports announced that all remaining Overwatch League events have been canceled through the end of April. However, Overwatch League commissioner Pete Vlastelica stated in a series of tweets that the league would resume from March 21st and all scheduled games would be played and also broadcast online.
The league is also adjusting its schedule to skip the mid-season tournament and postponing the All-Star game and event until after the 2020 season as many players haven’t had a chance to compete in the league.
Valve, the publisher of Dota 2, has announced that the game’s fourth major and minor tournaments will be canceled this year. This concerns the planned EPICENTER Major tournament in Moscow, Russia, which was to take place from May 2nd to 10th, as well as the AMD SAPPHIRE Dota PIT Minor in Split, Croatia, which was originally planned for April 23rd to 26th. At the moment, neither Valve nor the tournament organizers have indicated that online games will be held instead. However, the ESL One Los Angeles Major and ESL One Birmingham will take place online.
ARLAND wishes all readers all the best and lots of strength in this difficult time!
The ARLAND team