Every esports event impacted by coronavirus | Shutdowns, audience limits, and more

With the illness spreading to more countries, many tournament organizers have been quick to act.

Photo via Riot Games

Since December, when the first batch of cases was discovered, at least 140 countries have known cases and over 5,600 people have died as a result of coronavirus.

With the bulk of the cases concentrated in China, esports has been acutely affected by the illness. Three of the biggest esports titles in the world—League of Legends, Dota 2, and Overwatch—have large presences in the country, and each has been forced to change plans due to coronavirus.

Here are events that have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The most recent incidents will be at the top of the list.

  • Respawn Entertainment alters ALGS events, postponing Premier Event #1 and making Online Tournament #2 for-points only.
  • Riot brings back both the LEC and LCS to be played on an online format.
  • Valve cancels both the OGA Dota PIT Minor 2020 and EPICENTER Major 2020.
  • Riot Scholastic Association of America suspends all collegiate League of Legends games until further notice.
  • Team Liquid closes its facilities and enforces a work-from-home policy for its players and staff for the next 30 days.
  • Riot suspends live audiences and on-site press at both the LEC and LCS. Both leagues are suspended days later.
  • Star City Games and ChannelFireball cancel upcoming MTG events, including MagicFest events across the United States and Brazil.
  • ESL moves ESL Pro League season 11 to an online format.
  • All Overwatch League homestead events scheduled in March and April have been canceled starting week six. Matches will be made up later in the season.
  • E3 2020, which was originally scheduled for June 9 to 11 in Los Angeles, has been canceled.
  • Riot Games delays the 2020 Mid-Season Invitational until July and indefinitely suspends Rift Rivals and LCK.
  • NetherRealm Studios removes live audience from Final Kombat 2020 and cancels Last Chance Qualifier.
  • The Tokyo Tekken Masters Tournament, the first event of the Tekken World Tour, has been postponed.
  • Overwatch League teams Seoul Dynasty and Guangzhou Charge sent players to Los Angeles due to the spread of coronavirus.
  • The 2020 Game Developers Conference, which was set in San Francisco, has been postponed. Epic Games and Microsoft, among other large companies, pulled out of GDC. A woman in northern California became the first person to be diagnosed with coronavirus in the United States with an unknown origin shortly before the conference was postponed.
  • Capcom removed several events from the 2020 Capcom Pro Tour, citing coronavirus concerns.
  • Magic: The Gathering developer canceled MagicFest Turin.
  • The LPL will resume March 9 in an online-only format. The Chinese national general administration of sports department requested all sporting events before April 30 to be postponed, which prevented the LPL from resuming normal activities. Only the first week of matches were played in January.
  • The governor of Silesia, Jarosław Wieczorek, ordered ESL to not have an audience at the IEM Katowice playoffs, which is taking place at the Spodek arena in Katowice, Poland. Previously, ESL was going to administer temperature checks.
  • The LCK, like many other leagues, will not play with a live audience during the spring split. The league also suspended press activities for the rest of the season.
  • PAX East, which is in Boston, lost out on CD Projekt Red, Capcom, and PUBG Corp. due to coronavirus concerns.
  • The LJL, the top League of Legends league in Japan, will not have a studio audience for the rest of the split. Japan has the third-most confirmed cases in the world, with the number nearing 1,000. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned older and at-risk travelers to avoid the country. Japan is scheduled to host the Summer Olympics in July and August.
  • The municipal government of Shanghai, which is set to host the 2020 League of Legends World Championship later in the year, encouraged tournament organizers to move away from LAN matches and toward an online model as the country’s health officials attempt to contain the illness.
  • Riot Games delayed announcing information relating to the 2020 Mid-Season Invitational, which is typically played in May, due to coronavirus concerns. Riot said it is committed to running the event, but the health of its players, staff, and fans are the foremost concern.
  • After the Overwatch League canceled all Chinese homestands in February and March, affecting dozens of games, the league scrapped the games in Seoul, South Korea, which featured Seoul Dynasty matches, as well as make-up matches from the previously-canceled Chinese matches. Before being canceled, the Seoul games were supposed to have no live audience.
  • Blizzard relocated the Hearthstone Masters Tour in Indonesia to Los Angeles.
  • A player for Vici Gaming failed to get a visa in time for IEM Katowice because his visa appointment was canceled due to coronavirus concerns. His team was replaced by Tyloo.
  • PUBG postponed the PUBG Global Series: Berlin event until later in the year.
  • The Magic: The Gathering’s Wizards Play Network qualifiers, which were set to take place in China, were canceled.
  • A Chinese Fortnite player, WenQian, who lives in Wuhan, missed the Australian Open.
  • Multiple Chinese Overwatch League teams decided to relocate their staff and players outside of the country last month.


Preston Byers
Dot Esports associate editor. Co-host of the Ego Chall Podcast. Since discovering esports through the 2013 Call of Duty Championship, Preston has pursued a career in esports and gaming. He graduated from Youngstown State University with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 2021.

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