A new normal in esports?
The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic continues to affect video game events, with a few League of Legends and Dota 2 tournaments now taking hits.
As PC Gamer reported, tTLegends European Championship (LEC) Spring Splits will be broadcast from studios and will not have any audience or press (via PC Gamer). Meanwhile, the ESL One Dota 2 Major has been postponed; it was originally due to be held from March 20 to March 22 in Los Angeles.
Last week, it was announced that the Spring Split Finals would move to Berlin’s LEC Studios from Budapest, so the decision to cancel audience and press attendance is but the latest response to the Covid-19 situation.
“This is not a decision we made lightly, however the health and safety of our pro players, fans, press, and staff is and will always be our top priority,” wrote Riot Game’s Head of Esports Europe Alberto Guerrero in a post. “We will continue to monitor the situation and listen closely to the advice of health and governmental authorities.”
In the post, Guerrero also mentioned that Copenhagen-based esports team Origen will be playing online instead of travelling to Berlin due to announcements from the Denmark government. The team also tweeted about it.
🇬🇧 As we are based in Copenhagen, recent announcements coming from the government in Denmark will have us play online this weekend and not travel to Berlin. We are happy that we can still compete! Let's give it our all online, #OGFamily.
— Origen (@origengg) March 12, 2020
In the ESL Dota 2 Major’s case, the postponement was due not just to Covid-19 itself, but the US travel ban that was announced recently. In a statement on Twitter, the official ESL page said that they are working with Valve to figure out a new date and venue for the event.
“We are deeply disappointed but believe this outcome is in the best interest of all the people who make these incredible events possible,” they added.
— ESL Dota2 (@ESLDota2) March 12, 2020
Whether it’s a postponement or a shift to online broadcasts with empty venues, I think these sort of announcements aren’t surprising anymore, and won’t be until the Covid-19 situation passes.
While esports fans will understandably be saddened by these turn of events, safety always comes first, and it’s good that we at least have some online broadcasts to watch. At any rate, it looks like this will be the new normal for now.