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League of Legends, EA suspend all esports due to coronavirus

LCS Spring Finals will move from Frisco, Texas to Riot Games’ home studio

Bloodhound exits a dropship over Kings Canyon in a screenshot from Apex Legends
Apex Legends.
Image: Respawn Entertainment/Electronic Arts
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Riot Games, makers of League of Legends, and Electronic Arts have suspended all esports activities, respectively, adding to the scheduling casualties of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) and the developmental LCS Academy League suspended all operations immediately, the series’ official Twitter account announced Friday evening. EA said Friday night that the Apex Legends Global Series, the FIFA 20 Global Series, and the Madden NFL 20 Championship series have been suspended, along with all other live events in EA’s competitive gaming program.

Riot said it reached its decision in consultation with the LCS’ teams. The suspension also means that the 2020 LCS Spring Finals, whenever they are held, will take place at Riot’s home studio in Los Angeles. The Spring Finals had been scheduled for April 18 and 19 in Frisco, Texas, but “expanding restrictions on large-scale public events in North Texas” made it a wise idea to go ahead and move that event to Riot HQ.

“For those who have already purchased tickets to LCS matches or to the Spring Finals, you will be fully refunded,” Riot said Friday night. Refunds have already gone out in many cases, but if fans don’t get their money back in 10 business days, they’re asked to contact customer support through the ticket seller they used.

“We’re aiming to bring the live action of the LCS and professional League of Legends esports to Texas in the future,” said LCS commissioner Chris Greeley. “We appreciate your understanding and support during this time.”

For EA’s esports, the suspension also affects “all competitive competitive gaming content except for broadcasts that can be individually produced remotely. Online events, where participants and staff are remote and separated, will continue.

“This suspension of events … will be in effect until the global coronavirus situation improves,” EA said.

EA had already suspended specific events within some of its esports series, where Riot had announced some restrictions and limitations for the LCS finals. Riot had already begun offering refunds for the Spring Finals. The latest announcements simply mean that everything is shut down, not just major events on the schedule.

COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on Thursday. The United States now has more than 2,100 confirmed coronavirus cases, in 49 of its 50 states. Globally, more than 100,000 have been sickened by COVID-19 and more than 5,000 have died. There is no vaccine for the virus.

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