February is usually when many professional League of Legends regions reach the middle of their respective competitive seasons. But the Chinese LPL has been severely delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak. And now, all sporting events in the country before Thursday, April 30 have been halted.
The Chinese national general administration of sports department has requested that all sporting events before April 30 be postponed, according to a translation by well-known LPL journalist Ran. The LPL was scheduled to begin in January but the league hasn’t been able to play out its games since the first week of play.
It’s unfortunate that one of the biggest leagues has been affected like this, but in the interest of general safety, this was the best decision to make. This does mean, however, that the LPL might not attend this year’s Mid-Season Invitational.
Last year, MSI 2019 began on May 1. If the sporting event delay continues through April, the league won’t complete enough games to qualify for the international event.
This is a huge blow to one of the biggest regions in pro League, especially since China is the host region for this year’s World Championship. It’s reasonable to think that if the coronavirus outbreak isn’t under control by that time, Worlds could also be affected or relocated to another place.
The professional League scene isn’t the only esport that’s been affected by this outbreak, however. The Overwatch League was forced to cancel the Seoul Dynasty’s homestand in Korea and the Chinese homestand make-up matches that were going to be held in Seoul. Eastern teams like the Chengdu Hunters, Shanghai Dragons, and Guangzhou Charge have yet to play any games this season.