The LPL has been postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak in China.
The coronavirus is a highly infectious and potentially deadly virus that affects the respiratory system. The epidemic started in the Wuhan region and has spread throughout China. There are confirmed cases of the coronavirus in countries including Japan, South Korea, Canada, and the United States.
The situation in China is worsening every day. The World Health Organization has declared that the risk is high, not only in China but globally. That has Chinese authorities on alert and looking to head off the virus spreading, a fact that has hurt esports badly across Asia.
The LPL was forced to make a difficult decision in the face of the current epidemic. The league has decided to delay the 2020 LPL Spring Split indefinitely and it’s currently unclear as to whether it will return.
Should this delay linger, China won’t have a representative at the 2020 Mid-Season Invitational. It will be the first time a major region misses an international event.
The epidemic isn’t just hitting the LPL, though.
According Inven Global, the 2020 LCK Spring Split is set to start in an empty arena due to concerns over the coronavirus. If there is a significant outbreak in Korea, Riot Korea told Inven Global it is prepared to take any measures necessary to keep players and fans safe.
Another event at risk is the 2020 League of Legends World Championship, which is set to be hosted in China later this year.
Though Worlds is still months away, China’s SARS epidemic lingered for nine months from 2002 to 2003. While the current outbreak of coronavirus isn’t expected to last as long or be as serious as SARS, which claimed 774 lives globally, it wouldn’t need to endure for that long to ruin the 2020 LPL Summer Split or disrupt Riot’s planning of Worlds 2020.
Riot Games is yet to confirm any decision but it’s possible that the developer is already making backup plans.