Once again, real life intrudes on video games. In this case, it’s the fault of the coronavirus, which, as you’ve likely heard, is making its way through China (and other parts of the world). Nearly a hundred people in China have died from the epidemic, and its serious implications have forced a change in how multiple prominent companies are handling their esports events.
League of Legends‘ Pro League, the LPL, announced yesterday on Twitter that it has suspended week two of its events in China until it can “ensure the safety and health of our players and fans.”
We have decided to postpone week 2 of the LPL until we can ensure the safety and health of our players and fans.
To our fans, we sincerely apologize that it has come to this and we will share any and all info as soon as we can.
Stay Safe and thank you all for your support!
— LPL (@lplenglish) January 26, 2020
The events were going to start Feb. 5, but given the uncertainty of the virus’s spread — not to mention numerous travel restrictions throughout China — the league decided to play it safe and suspend the games until further notice.
League of Legends isn’t the only game having its esports plans affected by the coronavirus. World Electronic Sports Games (WESG), which was responsible for running the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Asia-Pacific 2020 Finals in Macau Feb. 16-18, has also announced the cancellation of the event. Additionally, while there’s been no announcement yet from Blizzard, the Overwatch League is scheduled to play its first games in China the weekend of Feb. 15-16. It would be hard to imagine those events proceeding as scheduled, and we’ll stay on the lookout for any other postponements or cancellations down the road.