To make up for lost time, China’s LPL will run seven days a week from March 9 to April 19. The league will broadcast three online best-of-three series a day for the first week and two a day from week two to week five, the LPL announced on Weibo.
The league has been on hiatus since the Lunar New Year celebrations in January and has subsequently been delayed due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. The virus has affected over 80,000 people across the world, causing over 3,000 deaths. China, the epicenter of the outbreak, has taken the biggest blow. In China’s Hubei province, at least 56 million people remain under quarantine.
The LPL was previously feared to be on hold until April 30. But after the organizers switched to an online format, it’s now set to resume next week on Monday, March 9. All players, however, will be required to complete a 14-day monitored quarantine period and meet all local health requirements before they can resume their participation in the league.
China’s FunPlus Phoenix are the reigning champions of League of Legends after beating Europe’s G2 Esports in the finals of Worlds last year. But with the Mid-Season Invitational—the first international tournament of the year—fast approaching, China is on the back foot.
The valuable practice time the region has lost over the last couple of months will likely have a considerable impact on the tournament.
Day one of the LPL includes matchups between LNG Esports and Oh my God, FunPlus Phoenix and JD Gaming, and Royal Never Give Up and Top Esports.