Combo Breaker 2020 has been officially cancelled this Wednesday, due to the team's concern regarding the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.
Combo Breaker is one of the biggest Fighting Games esports tournaments of the year, so it's understandable to see the announcement has left the whole Fighting Games community in shock, while the organiser Rick “The Hadou” Thiher and his team have their own problems to deal with, as they have to issue refunds and cancel all previous preparations for the event.
The unfortunate announcement surfaced on the official Combo Breaker website, with a detailed explanation of the situation as well as plans for the future.
"The COMBO BREAKER team is gutted to announce that, following government guidance and our own judgment regarding COVID-19, COMBO BREAKER 2020 is cancelled," read the announcement.
"We recognize the significant impact this decision has on our attendees, partners, sponsors, staff, venue, and community, but believe it is currently the only move to make. May we collectively make it through this difficult time as passionately as when we all began."
The next wave of Combo Breaker promotions was slated to launch this week, including an announcement that Combo Breaker 2020 will be powered by Astro Gaming, who also helped the organisers secure the Schaumburg Convention Center for this year's event.
The blog post unveiled that all attendees who already purchased community or competitor pass will be eligible for full refunds, which will be processed on April 20. That being said, there will be some exclusions from what can be fully refunded, such as Village of Schaumburg or Cook County taxing fees, as these are non-refundable without an individual claim letter delivered by each registrant to the local governments.
Those who already booked a room at the Combo Breaker's hotel, Schaumburg Renaissance Marriott, will have their room reservations automatically transferred to Combo Breaker 2021. There is also an option to call the hotel directly and request the room reservation to be cancelled, in which case a full refund will be issued.
The Hadou also addressed the issues with travel plans, urging the fans and others who already booked their flights to contact the airline companies and enquire about a possible refund or other forms of compensation for cancelling the flight.
Those who registered for the event will receive a few gifts from Combo Breaker, which incudes COMBO BREAKER Badge, 0-page Commemorative Magazine, COMBO BREAKER Pin and No Coast, No Kings Lanyard. All gifts are expected to be shipped after all refunds are processed, which should be sometime in early May, so everyone should have the gifts at home by Memorial Day Weekend. The Hadou stated, however, that there could be some delays with the shipping the gifts amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the cancellation of the event, Combo Breaker will still offer Combo Breaker 2020 merchandise, which can be found on their official store. Merchandise includes hoodies, hats, badges, stickers, posters and much more. In response to enquiries about how fans can support Combo Breaker, the store offers two additional items in 50-page Commemorative Magazine featuring articles, illustrations, photos, and interviews and COMBO BREAKER Arcade Token and protective case, which is available for $2, but also allows you to name your own price as part of an “In Us We Trust” support opportunity.
All proceeds from the merchandise will help Combo Breaker recoup development and costs, as well as ensure that Combo Breaker will return in 2021.
Combo Breaker Retrospective Stream
Additionally, Combo Breaker is said to work with a videographer Hold Back to Block, streamers Team Spooky, and host Sajam to provide a 3-day retrospective broadcast, which will feature marquee matches, stories from the past attendees of Combo Breaker's 5-year-long history as well as clips of special moments.
While this won't be the event broadcast Combo Breaker had hoped to deliver, the organisers hope it will help "fill some of the void over what was supposed to have been COMBO BREAKER 2020 weekend." The Combo Breaker Retrospective stream is set to air on May 22-24, 2020.
Although nice gestures from the Combo Breaker organisers, it's very unfortunate to see an event of such calibre cancelled due to the COVID-19 spread. This, however, is not the lone case of cancelled esports event, as there are a plethora of other tournaments that were either cancelled, postponed or moved to an online format.