Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images – *List of events has been further updated*
Coronavirus continues to wreak havoc upon the esports scene. COVID-19, better known as coronavirus, has been spreading across the planet for the last month. In its wake, multiple esports and gaming events have been cancelled. The latest cancellations came out this week in the form of South by Southwest and the Rocket League Championship Series.
So far, the most notable western cancellations have been the Game Developer’s Conference and IEM Katowice. The Game Developer’s Conference was cancelled outright, while IEM Katowice was held in front of an empty arena. Just this week, the Rocket League Championship Series World Championships were cancelled. They were scheduled to be held in Dallas in April, but that is no longer the plan. In addition, South By Southwest was cancelled just one week before it was set to get underway.
League of Legends
Things are far worse in Asia. The virus originally appeared in Wuhan, China and the countries nearby have been the hardest hit so far. The Chinese LPL region has only completed one week of play so far. In South Korea, the LCK had been running without live audiences, but has now been suspended indefinitely. While it hasn’t gotten so severe in North America, the LCS is definitely wary of coronavirus. Riot has cancelled fan meet ups and other LCS fan experiences for the foreseeable future. Currently, the LCS Spring Finals in Fresno, Texas have not been cancelled. However, LCS Commissioner Chris Greeley has said Riot is in contact with city officials and will make that call if necessary.
UPDATE: 3-13-20 7:30pm EDT
The LCS and LEC both announce to suspend matches indefinitely. The LCS Spring Split finals are moving from Frisco, TX to the LCS Arena in Los Angeles.
Overwatch (Updated 3-13-20)
Overwatch League has had similar issues, as home stands in Seoul, Shanghai, Chengdu, Hangzhou, and Chengdu have all been cancelled. Activision-Blizzard is still trying to reschedule those competitions, but it’s difficult until the virus is under control. As it is, the very real possibility is that Overwatch League’s first season of home and away matches will end with a great deal of forfeitures and cancellations.
UPDATE: The Overwatch League announced matches would resume on March 21st. All matches will be played online. The OWL also canceled the mid-season tournament and pushed the All-Star Game back to the end of the season.
Not only have multiple conventions been outright cancelled this year, many more are suffering from guests pulling out. PAX East saw major names like Square-Enix scale back or completely pull out. Meanwhile, SXSW and the Game Developer’s Conference have been cancelled entirely. All eyes are now turning towards E3, which looms large on the horizon. If the virus isn’t contained by June, could E3 be at risk of being cancelled? E3 is already reeling from the loss of Sony. Would a couple more major names like Nintendo or Microsoft pulling out be enough to get them to close the doors?
List of events affected by COVID-19 (Updated 3-20-20)
We’ll update this list as new information comes out.
- Emerald City Comic Con (March 13th-15th) – Reschedule to Summer (no date yet)
- APEX Legends Global Series (March 13th-15th) – Postponed
- South By Southwest (March 16th-22nd) – Cancelled
- Game Developers Conference (March 16th-20th) – Cancelled
- Overwatch League (All Asian home stands) – Postponed
- Coachella (April 10th-19th) – Postponed until October
- Stagecoach – Postponed
- Rocket League Championship Series World Championships (April 24th – 26th) – Cancelled (Awaiting details)
- League of Legends LEC – Postponed Indefinitely
- League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational – Postponed until July
- Overwatch League (All Home stands) – Cancelled, matches to be played on a case-by-case basis
- March 21st and 22nd matches have been cancelled by order of the city of Los Angeles.
- NBA 2K League – Postponed Indefinitely
- CSL Grand Finals – Moving to online only
- NBA – Postponed indefinitely
- NHL – Postponed indefinitely
- MLB – Spring Training cancelled, Regular season delayed 2 weeks
- MLS – Postponed indefinitely
- Dreamhack Dallas (May) – Rescheduled to August 14th – 16th
- Dreamhack Summer (June) – Rescheduled to August 6th-9th
- LCS – All matches played online