Due to the outbreak of the 2019-nCoV, better known as Wuhan coronavirus, the top League of Legends esports events in China have been delayed indefinitely.
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
Both League of Legends Pro League and Development League are being affected by this decision. The original Weibo post announcing the delay stated that the LoL Competition Committee made the move to “protect the health of spectators, players, and staff.”
The outbreak resulted in the quarantine of many cities in the Hubei province, with an estimated 41 million people affected. It appears that Ming “Clearlove” Kai, a former LPL player and current coach for EDward Gaming was caught up in the quarantine. It’s likely other figures in the LPL got caught in the sweeping travel restrictions.
Clearlove: “If I can’t return [to the LPL] after I’ve celebrated the Lunar New Year, then you can only see my drafts online. I’ll send them a video of my drafting, I’ll cloud drop my drafts, that works.”
— Linda? (@iCrystalization) January 23, 2020
On Jan. 25, the LPL made the call to suspend week 2 of the series indefinitely. Furthermore, on Jan 27 the English-speaking LPL casting team shared a video stating that they were all returning to their home countries. In the video, caster Joe “Munchables” Fenny says: “We don’t really know the extent of how dangerous it is, but it seems like it could be a lot worse than people are saying. So, we’re getting the f**k out of here.”
— Munch (@HeyMunchables) January 27, 2020
The LPL is not the first esports organizer to cancel an event for the coronavirus. Prior to the LPL delay, World Electronic Sports Games announced the cancellation of their CS:GO APAC Finals, initially scheduled to take place in Macau, China this February.
Depending on how the virus continues to spread, other major esports events may also be impacted in the future. The LoL 2020 World Championship is scheduled to take place in Shanghai later this year. Fans around the world are becoming concerned about whether Worlds 2020 may be rescheduled.
In December 2019, scientists discovered a mysterious virus in the city of Wuhan, Hubei, China. Although immediate efforts were made to contain the virus, it continued to spread. Now, sources report an estimated 4.5 thousand people infected at this time of writing. The outbreak also lasted through the Lunar New Year, the busiest travel season of the year in China. The virus has been determined to cause pneumonia, and in severe cases, liver failure or even death.
Written by Efren Hurtado