LEC and LCS changes due to coronavirus fears
League of Legends European Championship (LEC) and League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) will be making some changes to fans' experience for the remained of the split due to the COVID-19 coronavirus concerns.
Both LEC and LCS have made announcements earlier on Friday, March 6, revealing changes that are coming to both leagues in the response of the global COVID-19 epidemic, which already infected over 100,000 people worldwide.
The official LEC Twitter page made a post, unveiling the 2020 Spring Finals will be held at the LEC Studio in Berlin, Germany and not in Budapest as initially planned.
"We have been closely monitoring the situation with the Covid-19 coronavirus across Europe and around the world, and have come to the difficult decision to hold our 2020 Spring Finals in the LEC Studio in Berlin instead of Budapest," read the blog post from LEC.
"This was not an easy decision to make, however, the health and safety of players, fans, and staff is our number one priority."
LEC organisers explained that they believe holding the event in a smaller setting and more controlled environment such as LEC Studio is a better course of action to ensure the safety of those involved. Although the current plans are to host a live audience in Berlin Studio, LEC declined to make any promises, as they will instead continue to monitor the situation and work with local health officials to ensure the safety of players and fans and only then revisit the decision if needed.
"We understand that this is a disappointment for fans, particularly those in Hungary, but we will look into options to bring the LEC to Budapest in the future. We’d like to thank all of our fans, players, and partners for their continued trust and support throughout this time."
LEC's North American counterpart - LCS, also made an announcement regarding the growing concern due to the global health crisis. Talking about the Spring Split finals, LCS commissioner Chris Greeley said that they are carefully monitoring the situation in Frisco, Texas, however, will be implementing some changes to fans' LCS experience, by limiting the fan interaction until further notice.
"The dynamic and rapidly-evolving situation around COVID-19 (aka coronavirus) is concerning to us, like the rest of the industry," said Mr Greeley.
"The health and safety of our pro players, fans and employees remain our top priority"
In the announcement, Greeley also said that LEC will be suspending fan meets, as well as post-game handshakes and the iconic post-victory high-fives between the pro players and the audience. While not a major change, LCS acknowledged that might negatively affect the LCS experience for some fans and are for that reason offering full ticket refunds for those who may be disappointed by the changes and would rather not attend the events.
The announcement of both LoL league has surfaced shortly after it was revealed that TwitchCon Amsterdam, which has been scheduled for May 2-3 has been cancelled. Twitch is also offering full refunds to anyone who already purchased a ticket with cancellation available until March 20. As for the companies who planned to exhibit at or sponsor the event, Twitch is offering a full refund or an option to move their commitment to TwitchCon San Diego in September or TwitchCon Europe 2021.
The LEC and LCS changes are the latest in the growing list of cancelled or rescheduled esports events, which include both Asian LoL leagues in LPL and LCK. Adding to the League of Legend events, the Overwatch league homestands, CS:GO Major tournaments, Rocket League World Championship, Mortal Kombat 2020 qualifiers, as well as Apex Legends Global Series Major tournament have been affected by the epidemic in one way or another.