The organisers behind China’s League Of Legends Pro League have put the tourney on indefinite hold. The recent coronavirus outbreak, which has so far claimed 56 lives and infected 2,000 people in China and beyond, has scuppered plans to kick off week 2 of the LPL on February 5th. Instead, the esports season has been given a time-out until this outbreak blows over, and digital sports can be played without risk of potentially deadly infection.
Posting on their English-language Twitter account, organisers at Tencent apologised and explained that esports will resume as soon as they can guarantee the safety of players and fans. Similarly, LPL have put a halt to the LoL Development League – a secondary, academy-level league.
We have decided to postpone week 2 of the LPL until we can ensure the safety and health of our players and fans.
To our fans, we sincerely apologize that it has come to this and we will share any and all info as soon as we can.
Stay Safe and thank you all for your support!
— LPL (@lplenglish) January 26, 2020
Sound planning, but it’s not like they really had much choice. Transport across China has been severely limited in response to the coronavirus outbreak, with several cities in Hubei province suspending all public transport. Similarly, large gatherings have been forbidden in many regions.
Dot Esports reports that Asian-Pacific finals for WESG’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament have likewise been postponed. Even if the LPL were to run, it would probably involve very few teams playing for an audience of zero.
As cases of coronavirus continue to be found across China and beyond, the developers of Plague Inc reminded worried fans that their doomsday simulator shouldn’t be used as a “scientific model” for the outbreak.