Amid coronavirus fears, Riot Games announced they're suspending League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) until further notice, which includes all Academy games.
The news surfaced this Saturday on LCS' official Twitter Page, where LCS Commissioner Chris Greeley, released a statement regarding the future of the league.
"As the impact of COVID-19 continues to grow, we’re committed to keeping the health and safety of players, fans and everyone who makes the LCS possible at the forefront of every decision we make," said Mr Greeley.
"And so, it was an incredibly difficult call to make, but this afternoon we decided, after discussion with LCS teams, to suspend operations (including all LCS and Academy games) for the immediate future."
Additionally, Mr Greeley also unveiled that because of the dynamic situation regarding the coronavirus, the league has been forced to move its venue for 2020 Spring Split Finals from Dallas, Texas, to LCS studio in Los Angeles. The decision was also due to Texas' new restrictions that prohibit any large-scale public events for the foreseeable future.
"The same factors that weighted into this decision, coupled with expanding restrictions on large-scale public events in North Texas, have also led us to move the 2020 LCS Spring Finals from Dallas to the home studio in Los Angeles."
"We will continue to monitor the evolving situation regarding the virus and coordinate with public health officials to determine sage protocols for resuming games and events," he added.
Those who bought tickets for LCS matches or the Spring Split finals will be fully refunded. Squadup is reportedly already refunding LCS studio tickets, while Seatgeek will be refunding all finals tickets as soon as possible, but no later than 10 business days.
The LCS commissioner also claimed the LCS is testing whether a remote play would be a viable solution for the circumstances, which would allow teams to compete in the league from the safety of their own headquarters. Whether an online format for LCS will become a reality, however, remains to be seen.
"FYI - We are looking to shift our play to remote games (i.e. teams not on site) and get the LCS back as soon as possible," said Mr Greeley.
"With the move of finals to the LCS Arena, our schedule is now very flexible to finish Spring Split."
The announcement comes shortly after League of Legends European Championship (LEC) unveiled to suspend 2020 Spring Split due to the coronavirus. In the announcement, it was said that although none of the staff or players tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, one of the LEC staff members might have been exposed to it. The staff member in question has been put in quarantine and is currently being checked by medical professionals.
With that news, both LEC and LCS have joined League of Legends Korea Champions (LCK) as one of the three top-tier LoL leagues that are currently at a standstill. LoL, however, is not the only esports title that has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, with numerous other esports titles cancelling their events, tournaments and leagues, including Overwatch and Sumer Smash Bros., which had its PGR Season put to a halt until travel will be safer for the participating players.
Unfortunately, the global situation seems not to be improving, which might result in a long period of no esports tournaments. Fortunately, many esports titles decided to move to an online format, as did the Chinese League of Legends league - League Pro League (LPL).
Written by KrajnikT
Tit Krajnik (KrajnikT) is an esports writer for onlineesports.com, where he reports news, features and writes other content related to the players, teams, industry and the esports scene as a whole.
He has previously worked as a news and betting-related articles writer in the "traditional" sports scene but later opted to turn his attention to esports, where he managed to combine his love for video games and the growing esports industry with his work.
Krajnik has started his journey as an esports writer by covering Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends, which he also played since its launch, but later broaden his skill-set to include other major esports titles including Dota 2, Fortnite, Apex Legends, Overwatch, Rainbow 6 Siege and Call of Duty.