The ESL One LA Major has been cancelled.
According to esports journalist Rod Breslau, ESL has sent word to teams and broadcast talent that the event is off due to concerns over the coronavirus.
–Updated at 3:45 a.m. ET on March 12, 2020–
ESL has issued the following statement confirming the news on Twitter.
“In light of recent travel restrictions and the evolving COVID-19 situation, ESL is postponing the ESL One Los Angeles 2020 Dota 2 Major…We are working closely with Valve to determine a new time and location for the major. We are deeply disappointed but believe this outcome is in the best interest of all of the people who make these incredible events possible,” ESL said in the statement.
—End of update–
The news came after a whirlwind day that saw a slew of events get canceled and multiple celebrities get diagnosed with the illness.
The coronavirus is a highly contagious disease that first popped up in China and has since spreadto multiple continents. A number of events across the world have been cancelled or otherwise impacted to prevent its spread, ranging from Lunar New Year celebrations in China to E3 in Los Angeles.
March 11 saw major stories develop from this on an almost hourly basis. Rumors of a potential shutdown of WrestleMania 36 gave way to actor Tom Hanks announcing that he and his wife had been diagnosed with the coronavirus. Things only got bigger from there as the NBA announced the suspension of its season and United States President Donald Trump announcing travel restrictions between the USA and Europe.
In the world of esports, ESL stated it is coming up with contingency plans for its upcoming Counter-Strike: Global Offensive major and the Overwatch League canceled all homestand events scheduled over the next six weeks.
It is unclear if this had any bearing on the decision of ESL and Valve to scrap the event.
The coronavirus has officially been labeled a pandemic by the World Health Organization and has claimed the lives of thousands. While the cancellation of a single esports event is relatively small in the grand scheme of things, the scrapping of the ESL One LA Major is still a devastating blow to the entire professional Dota 2 scene and carries huge ramifications on the way to The International 2020.
During a recent podcast, Ninjas in Pyjamas captain Peter “ppd” Dager discussed the possible ramifications of canceling the ESL One LA Major. Though he couldn’t draw any specific conclusions regarding what would be happening, there was no doubt that the effects would by wide-reaching.
The 2019-2020 Dota Pro Circuit season’s function is to determine the direct invitations to The International 2020. The event revolves around five majors and removing one from the equation carries huge consequences for the entire pro scene.
Canceling majors isn’t necessarily new in Dota 2. Valve previously scrapped the Galaxy Battles Major in 2018, effectively leaving teams that qualified for the event and needed to earn DPC points towards that year’s The International twisting in the wind.
The cancellation of the ESL One LA Major carries far greater consequences however, due to the significantly smaller number of events set to take place in the 2019-2020 Dota Pro Circuit.