Electronic Arts announced they will be postponing the inaugural Apex Legends Global Series (ALGS) Major tournament due to the growing concerns of the worldwide epidemic that is COVID-19 coronavirus.
The California-based video game company released a statement on Friday, March 6, explaining that the first Major tournament of Apex Legends' ALGS series will be delayed to a further date, while the ALGS Online tournament, which was scheduled for March 21 and 23 will still be played as initially intended.
ALGS was first announced back in December 2019, as an international multi-tournament esports event with over US 3$ million in the prize pool. The series was said to mark a new stepping stone in Apex Legends' esports ecosystem and the first step towards establishing Apex Legends as one of the leading esports titles.
The series began on January 25, 2020, with the qualifiers for the ALGS Major 1. Dubbed as Online Tournament 1, the event comprised of eight online qualifiers that were played across North America, Europe, South America, South Korea, Japan, Greater Southeast Asia, Oceania, Middle East & Africa and China.
The first qualifying event ended on January 27, 2020, unveiling 20 teams who qualified for the event, with North American and European region receiving five spots for Major, South American, South Korean and Japan regions two, while SEA, Oceania, Middle East & Africa and China received one ticket each.
The Chinese region, in the end, did not hold a qualifying event, but instead opted for a direct invite, which has yet to be announced. The remaining teams that qualified for the Major 1 are as follows:
Apex Legends teams qualified for Major 1:
North America: Team SoloMid, Sniper Abusers, Rogue, Team Squidward, RCO eSports White
Europe: Kebabrulla, BDS Esports, OUTSIDERS, Natus Vincere, Virtus.pro
South America: CPTL eSports, INTZ
S. Korea: Aura Esports, _4K
Japan: SCARZ White, Nora-Rengo
SEA: MiTH Team, EXO Clan
Middle East & Africa: Istanbul Wild Cats
The teams were set to compete at Esports Stadium in Arlinton, Texas between March 13-15 for the largest slice of US $500,000 and 337,200 ALGS Points, however, due to organisers' decision, the Major will be played at a later date, which is yet to be confirmed.
Besides ALGS, EA also announced they're postponing and/or cancelling several FIFA tournaments including:
CONMEBOL eLibertadores Online & Live Event (March 7 - 8) - Postponed; new date will be provided in the future
FUT Champions Cup Stage V Bucharest (April 3 - 5) - Cancelled
PlayStation Licensed Qualifying Event (May 2 - 3) - Cancelled
On a more positive note, eChampions League Online Qualifiers, slated to be played on March 14 - 15 will take place as scheduled.
"While we don’t have any new dates to share at this point in time, we’ll look to provide more information regarding these events and the effect on each of the Global Series as soon as we can," read the announcement.
“These decisions haven’t come easy, but given the large global, nature of these events, we believe that making these changes are in the best interest of protecting the health of the community, including competitors, attendees, and staff.”
"As we continue to monitor the situation around the Coronavirus and receive guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO), we’ll continue to evaluate and provide more updates as it relates to all of EA’s Competitive Gaming events."
EA also unveiled everyone who bought their tickets for the postponed/cancelled events will get an option for a full refund. The company will now work towards addressing the financial implications of the competitors who already booked their hotels and paid for their travel.
"Our first priority was making a decision on the events. These decisions were made in the best interest of protecting the health of the community, including competitors, attendees, and staff."
"As soon as that decision was made, we wanted to make that info public immediately. We will now put our focus towards the financial implications on our community and we’ll update you how we plan to address as soon as we can."
Although disappointing news, this is not the first case of cancelled esports events due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Riot Games also announced they will be suspending fan meets and post-game handshakes between the fans and players in all LCS matches, while LEC Spring Finals have been moved from Budapest to the LEC Studio in Berlin.
The recently finished IEM Katowice 2020 was played without a live audience, while League of Legends Champions Korea had no live audience for the majority of the split and has just recently announced the league will go on hiatus for an undisclosed time. Furthermore, both TwitchCon Amsterdam and the Game Developers Conference were cancelled with more events likely to suffer the same fate until the epidemic is contained.