It looks like LoL fans in China will not be getting the event they were hoping for this year.
Credit: Colin Young-Wolfl/Riot Games
China has announced that it will not be hosting major international sporting events for the remainder of 2020, and as a result, it seems even more unlikely that the League of Legends World Championship will take place as planned.
The 2020 League of Legends World Championship was due to take place in China later this year, with different stages of the competition being held in different cities. The grand final was due to take place in Shanghai, at the Shanghai Stadium which has a capacity of over 55,000.
However, with the cancelation of major sporting events in 2020 in all of China, it seems unlikely that the competition will be able to take place as originally planned. The order from the General Administration of Sports states that the only international sporting competitions to take palace will be trials for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, and presumably the League of Legends World Championship would fall into the category of an international sporting event.
Of course, it was always unlikely that Worlds would be taking place as originally planned anyway. While the competition is still months away, the pandemic has pretty much put an end to all esports LAN events for the foreseeable future.
However, video game industry analyst Daniel Ahmad reported that Tencent, the company that owns Riot Games, was still planning on hosting the finals in Shanghai as recently as yesterday.
Riot Games did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.
With Worlds being a truly international competition with teams from all corners of the world competing, it would be difficult to host the tournament online, with ping issues giving some teams a significant disadvantage. In order for Worlds to be held in any kind of familiar format, all the teams would need to be in the same physical place.
Just where that could be remains to be seen. Theoretically, there is a chance it could still be held in China if there was no crowd present, but that depends on the exact guidance from the General Administration of Sports. Other countries could host the event, presumably without any kind of crowd given the current state of the pandemic, but travel restrictions on multiple countries around the world could have an impact on that.
If Worlds is not able to go ahead this year it would join The International 10 Dota 2 tournament, which was also postponed into 2021. Despite this, the Battle Pass for the competition is already on sale and breaking records.