How coronavirus is affecting esports and gaming events

Crowds like this one for the NYXL's Week 1 homestand will have to wait until next year as the Overwatch League announced the rest of the 2020 season would be played online due to the coronavirus. Photo: Ben Pursell for Blizzard Entertainment

The worldwide coronavirus outbreak has caused cancellations of events across dozens of sports worldwide as well as raised questions about whether this year's Tokyo Olympics will be affected. Gaming and esports have also felt the impact of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Here's a list of the events postponed, canceled or otherwise affected by the coronavirus, with the most recent announcements listed first.

April | March | February | January

Friday, April 3

League of Legends

China's LoL Pro League to hold day of silence Saturday

The League of Legends Pro League will take Saturday off to join China in its national day of mourning for victims of the coronavirus. "To our fans, please join us in mourning the lives that have been impacted by the outbreak, recognizing the medical staff who were crucial to the effort, and raising awareness of best practices such as social distancing to follow during these difficult times," the LPL said in a statement.

Tuesday, March 31


Overwatch League going online

The Overwatch League announced on Tuesday that it would be playing out the entire 2020 season online. The league had previously cancelled its April and March homestands and moved play for those months online. The league also announced its schedule for Week 9 (April 4-5) and Week 10 (April 11-12) and that future match schedules would be revealed as they become available.


Pokémon Championship Series canceled for 2020

The Play! Pokémon team announced that its North American International Championship (scheduled for June 26-28 in Columbus, Ohio) and Pokémon World Championship (Aug. 14-16 in London) are canceled, and with them, all sanctioned Play! Pokémon events for the year "until further notice."

Fighting games

Combo Breaker called off

Combo Breaker, a May 20-22 fighting game major in Illinois, has been canceled. "We recognize the significant impact this decision has on our attendees, partners, sponsors, staff, venue, and community, but believe it is currently the only move to make," the Combo Breaker team said in a statement. "May we collectively make it through this difficult time as passionately as when we all began."

Wednesday, March 25

Dota 2

ESL moves two events to online format

The ESL One Los Angeles major and ESL One Birmingham will take place online, with qualification time running short for The International 2020, ESL announced Wednesday.

League of Legends

LCS Spring, playoffs and finals will continue

LCS commissioner Chris Greeley confirmed via the LCS' official Twitter handle that the LCS would move forward with online play for the remainder of the spring split, playoffs and finals amid the coronavirus pandemic.

LCK returns with online-only matches

League Champions Korea, following a hiatus due to the coronavirus outbreak in South Korea, returned to online play Wednesday and will continue the second half of its regular season in a non-LAN setting for the foreseeable future.

Monday, March 23


Brazil Counter-Strike major postponed to November

The ESL One Rio 2020 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major, originally scheduled for May 11-24 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, has been postponed to November, due to concerns around the novel coronavirus, ESL announced on Monday.

Friday, March 20

NBA 2K League

NBA 2K League launches three-on-three tourney

Starting on Friday, March 27, the NBA 2K League will host The NBA 2KL Three for All Showdown, a 3-on-3 tournament that will pit top fans, influencers and top female 2K players playing in the NBA 2K20 MyPark game mode for the opportunity to challenge NBA 2K league teams. The tournament will be held completely online.

Apex Legends

Apex Legends Global Series adjusts schedule

Apex developer Respawn announced Friday that it will suspend all live events "until the global coronavirus situation improves," according to a statement. The GLL Paris Premier Event from April 24-26 has been canceled. "The PGL Bucharest Premier Event #2, scheduled for May 30-31 will be held if conditions have improved such that we believe it is the right time to resume Live Events," the developer said.

Thursday, March 19

Overwatch League

California 'stay at home' mandate pushes back league's online debut

Blizzard Entertainment will postpone this weekend's online Overwatch League matches on March 21-22 due to California's recent statewide "stay at home" order.

Wednesday, March 18

Evolution Championship Series

Evo announces plans to continue

The Evolution Championship Series, the largest fighting game tournament in the world announced Wednesday the event is still on course to take place July 31 - Aug. 2 in Las Vegas, but they would continue to monitor the coronavirus situation.

Tuesday, March 17

League of Legends

LCS and LEC to return this weekend in online format

Europe and North America's premier League of Legends leagues, the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) and the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS), will return this weekend as fully online competitions, Riot Games announced today. All LEC teams will be playing from their training facilities in Berlin, with the exception of Origen, who will be competing from their Copenhagen training center.

Monday, March 16


Flashpoint to move to online matches

After a successful first weeekend, the newly-created Flashpoint will be moving to online matches due to the coronavirus. The ;league hopes to have a new schedule soon after the teams are set up for online play from their homes.

PUBG Mobile

Americas Pro League and World League postponed

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Mobile's upcoming tournament dates have been pushed "to a later stage this year" because of the coronavirus pandemic, the game developer announced. "We also see this as an opportunity to mobilize esports, and we're working closely with our teams to further improve coverage of our servers around the world and Americas," said James Yang, the Director of PUBG MOBILE Global Esports for Tencent Games.

Sunday, March 15

Dota 2

EPICENTER called off by Valve

EPICENTER, a Valve-run Dota 2 major, has been canceled, the tournament organizer announced. The event was scheduled to run May 2-10 in Moscow. The cancellation also means the Dota PIT minor, a qualifier for EPICENTER, has been shut down.

Saturday, March 14

HyperX Esports Arena

Vegas gaming hub cuts off events

HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas is closing its doors for the next two weeks. Allied Esports announced in a press release that in-person events at the arena would be suspended starting Saturday and many events would be moved online.

Friday, March 13

League of Legends

League of Legends Championship Series

A day after announcing games would be played without an audience out of LCS studio in Santa Monica, California, LCS commissioner Chris Greeley announced the suspension of the rest of the season for the immediate future and that play would resume online and LCS spring finals would be moved from Texas to LCS studio.

College League of Legends

The Riot Scholastic Association of America announced that College League of Legends play is being suspended, effective immediately.


Four upcoming events cancelled

Four competitive Play! Pokemon events have been cancelled due to the coronoavirus: Toronto, Charlotte, Santa Catarina, and Salt Lake City.

EA Esports

EA suspends all live esports events

Apex, Madden and FIFA have all had their live events cancelled, EA announced Friday. The suspension will hold until the "global coronavirus situation improves." Online events will continue.


ESL Pro League provides Season 11 updates

SwolePatrolGG will take the place of Renegades in Season 11 of the EPL after the team decided they "did not feel comfortable traveling in the current situation." Sharks Esports have also exited Season 11 for similar reasons, and their replacement will be announced soon.

Overwatch League

OWL cancels Midseason Tournament, moves All-Star Weekend to offseason

The Overwatch League, after announcing it would cancel all March and April homestands, reveals it will play out those matches online instead starting March 21. The league also adjusts its schedule to remove the Midseason Tournament and, given many of its players haven't had a chance to participate in the league yet, moves All-Star voting and the event to after the 2020 season.

League of Legends

League European Championship suspends spring split

A day after announcing the LEC would play on without an audience, the league changes course and decides to halt the regular season. The league confirms that no members of its staff or players on other teams have contracted coronavirus but that it made the move out of "an abundance of caution."

Fighting game community

Atlanta FGC tournament Final Round called off

Final Round, which hosts a variety of fighting games each year and has been run annually since 1997, announced the cancellation of the March 20-22 tournament in Atlanta. "With people traveling from not only around the USA, but around the world and visiting the busiest airport in the world we can not be the cause of potentially spreading COVID-19 throughout the Southeast region and beyond for a video gaming event," the Final Round team said in a statement.

Thursday, March 12

Call of Duty League

CDL cancels all home events, transitions to online play

The Call of Duty League will play out in an online-only format for the foreseeable future, and all currently scheduled homestands have been cancelled, the league announced Thursday.

NBA 2K League

With NYC in state of emergency, 2K League postpones start

The NBA 2K League has announce the start of the 2020 season has been postponed.

League of Legends

LCS, LEC to play games without audiences

The LCS and LEC announced Thursday that spectators and press will not be able to attend games due to the coronavirus. LCS commissioner Chris Greely said that a decision on the Spring finals in Texas will be upcoming, while the LEC said that Origen, who are currently in Copenhagen, will play their matches online rather than return to Berlin.

Dota 2

ESL One Los Angeles postponed, no new date given

ESL postpones ESL One Los Angeles in light of the coronavirus pandemic. "We are working closely with Valve to determine a new time and location for the Major," the company said in a statement. "We are deeply disappointed but believe this outcome is in the best interest of all of the people who make these incredible events possible.

Fighting game community

Panda Global stops accounting for upcoming events

The Panda Global Rankings, which determine the world's best players in Super Smash Bros. titles, will be on hiatus "until travel is again safe worldwide." The disruption might lead to only one ranking at year's end, the PGR team said in a statement.

Brawlhalla cancels CEO Dreamland event

Brawlhalla announces it will cancel its tournament at CEO Dreamland. The event, scheduled for March 13-15 in Orlando, Florida, was still scheduled to take place as of Thursday morning.

Wednesday, March 11

Overwatch League

March and April homestands canceled, but OWL play will go on

Overwatch League cancels March and April homestands

As a result of the on-going COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak, the Overwatch League has cancelled all live events in March and April. The matches have yet to be canceled as the league looks for a logistical solution.

Activision-Blizzard Esports has canceled all remaining Overwatch League events in March and April amid concerns of the spread of the coronavirus, the developer announced Wednesday. Overwatch League commissioner Pete Vlastelica said play will continue in those months but OWL "will have to move a few things around in the schedule to make this work."

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

ESL to be online-only, finals moved from Denver

ESL announced Season 11 of the Pro League will be played entirely online and the finals scheduled for Denver have been moved to a studio without a live audience in Europe.


E3 cancelled

The Entertainment Software Association announced the cancellation of E3 in Los Angeles in what would have been the 25th year of the convention.

Overwatch League

Paris cancels homestand

The Paris Eternal announced Wednesday via Twitter that they are forced to cancel their upcoming homestand due to the coronavirus and a minesterial order banning gatherings of more than 1,000 people.

Tuesday, March 10

League of Legends

Riot Games announces LoL Mid-Season Invitational moved to July

Riot Games announced Tuesday that the 2020 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational has been postponed. It will take place July 3-19. All Rift Rivals tournaments have been canceled.

Monday, March 9

League of Legends

Faker donates $25K to coronavirus charity

Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok continues to be a leader for the T1 organization both on the Rift and off. On Monday, the veteran League of Legends mid laner announced that he would be donating 30 million Korean Won ($25,000 USD) to the Community Chest of Korea to help aid efforts in South Korea battling the spread of COVID-19 (more commonly referred to as coronavirus).

LPL resumes away from stadiums

China's League of Legends Pro League resumes play in online-only format.

Friday, March 6

Overwatch League

OWL announces precautions for Washington Justice homestand

The Overwatch League announced that the homestand taking place in Washington D.C. will go ahead as planned, albeit with additional health precautions due to concerns around the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The precautions will include comprehensive cleaning of the venue every day, well-stocked handwashing supplies in all restrooms, increased access to hand sanitizer, signage around the venue instructing people to wash their hands and adjustments from meet and greets to Q&As instead after the final match of the day.

Apex Legends

First Apex Legends Global Series Major postponed

Electronic Arts announced the postponement and cancellation of several Apex Legends Global Series and FIFA Global Series events on Friday due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Mortal Kombat

NeatherRealm Studios cuts off public access day before Chicago tournament

NetherRealm Studios decided against a live audience at Final Kombat, one of their premier Mortal Kombat 11 events in Chicago, and cancelled a last-chance qualifier, citing concerns around the potential spread of the coronavirus.


European International Championships shut down on recommendation of public health officials

The Pokémon Company announced that it would postpone the Pokémon European International Championships, citing health officials' recommendations due to rising concerns about the growth in coronavirus cases. The championships were set for Berlin on April 17-19.


Hearthstone Masters moves to online-only format

A $250,000 Hearthstone Masters Tour event, scheduled to be played offline in Los Angeles on March 20-22, now will be an online competition because of worries over the coronavirus.

The event, which was expected to draw 40 pro players to L.A., already had been relocated from Indonesia over concerns of the coronavirus.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

FLASHPOINT adjusts opening weekend, cancels April tourney

FLASHPOINT, a new Counter-Strike: Global Offensive league set to kick off March 13, announced that it would hold its debut event entirely in a Los Angeles studio and canceled an April playoff event in Stockholm because of the coronavirus outbreak.

League of Legends

League European Championship moves spring final; LCS "carefully monitoring" outbreak

The League of Legends European Championship will move its spring split final scheduled for April 25-26 from Budapest, Hungary, to Berlin, citing concerns of the spread of the coronavirus, Riot Games announced.

The League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split Finals are still scheduled to take place in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, Texas, on April 18-19, the league announced Friday, but the game developer is "carefully monitoring" the situation.

Call of Duty

Call of Duty League takes extra precautions for Los Angeles homestand

The home series for the Los Angeles Guerrillas and OpTic Gaming LA scheduled for this weekend will go on as planned, as organizers say preparations have been made to protect players and fans amid rising concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.

Mutineers' Prestinni cites coronavirus as part of decision to skip L.A. tourney

Florida Mutineers SMG support Preston "Prestinni" Sanderson will not play for the team during the Call of Duty League Los Angeles homestand, because of "team approved personal reasons," the Mutineers announced.

In a social media post, Prestinni suggested the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, which has begun to hit multiple cities on the West Coast, was part of the the reason he's skipping the event.


City of Austin cancels SXSW conference to protect public health

The City of Austin, Texas, has canceled SXSW, which was planned for March 13-22. It is the first time the event will not take place in its 34-year history. "The situation evolved rapidly," organizers said. "We honor and respect the City of Austin's decision." SXSW would have featured the eMLS Cup, a gaming expo and award show this year.

Twitch cancels TwitchCon Amsterdam

Twitch removed the TwitchCon Amsterdam leg of its biannual conference scheduled for May 2-3, citing concerns around the spread of the coronavirus. On March 6, The Associated Press reported that there are more than 100,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus worldwide, with the majority in China. In Europe, several countries have confirmed cases, with Italy confirming more than 79 deaths, the most on the continent.

Thursday, March 5

Rocket League

Psyonix cancels Rocket League Season 9 World Championship

Psyonix, the developer of Rocket League, announced that the Rocket League Championship Series world championship scheduled for April 24-26 in Texas has been canceled because of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Monday, March 2

League of Legends

As coronavirus cases soar, South Korea postpones LCK play

South Korea's domestic League of Legends league will be suspended for its second half, from March 9 onward, because of the spread of coronavirus in the country, Riot Games announced.

Previously, the LCK had closed its media room until further notice after host Mina Kim was taken to the hospital with a fever. She tested negative for the virus, but staff and journalists were put under an 11-hour quarantine during the test, and the media room was closed shortly afterward.

Friday, Feb. 28


Game Developers Conference canceled amid rise in Northern California cases

The Game Developers Conference scheduled for March 16-20 in San Francisco was postponed after many top game publishing companies withdrew over fear of the spread of the novel coronavirus, event organizer Informa announced.

Street Fighter V

Three Capcom Pro Tour dates scrapped due to spread of coronavirus

The Capcom Pro Tour announced the removal of Brussels Challenge 2020, Norcal Regionals 2020 and April Annihilation 2020 from its calendar due to concerns over the outbreak of the coronavirus.

League of Legends

China's LPL to resume play in online format

China's League of Legends Pro League announced that it would be resuming official League of Legends pro play March 9. Matches will be played online until the league can safely clear esports venues.

All LPL players will be required to complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine period and pass all local health requirements to ensure their physical health and that they are free of the virus. Players will participate in matches via their club headquarters unless they are in quarantined provinces like Hubei, where the virus originated, and are unable to travel. On-site referees will be used whenever available to ensure the fairness and competitive integrity of the league.

Thursday, Feb. 27

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

IEM Katowice cuts out crowd as coronavirus precaution

The Intel Extreme Masters Katowice event in Katowice, Poland, did not have an on-site audience because of area politicians' worries about potential coronavirus contamination.

There weren't any confirmed cases of coronavirus in Poland at the time, but Jaroslaw Wieczorek, the governor of Silesia, made the decision "to ensure the safety of residents and visitors to the region," according to tournament organizer ESL.

Monday, Feb. 24

Overwatch League

Overwatch League matches from Weeks 5-7 in South Korea cut

The Overwatch League officially postponed the homestand at Seoul, South Korea, scheduled for March 7-8 -- in addition to Week 6 and 7 homestands -- because of concerns over the coronavirus outbreak in China.

Wednesday, Feb. 19

Overwatch League

Gen.G, Seoul Dynasty announce plan to donate to coronavirus charities

The Seoul Dynasty and sister organization Gen.G Esports announced they would donate all proceeds from an upcoming March homestand, in-game skins and merchandise sales through the end of March to charities helping those affected by the coronavirus.

League of Legends

China's LPL plans scrimmage broadcast amid coronavirus hiatus

While China's League of Legends Pro League officially remained on hiatus due to the coronavirus outbreak, competition resumed in the form of broadcasted online scrimmages between LPL teams beginning on Feb. 26.

Friday, Feb. 14

Overwatch League

OWL announces China homestands will move to South Korea

The Overwatch League released an update regarding the cancelled Chinese homestands in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hangzhou due to the coronavirus.

Makeup matches for these homestands were to be held in Seoul. Some were to be played in a studio in Seoul during Weeks 6-7, while others were supposed be added to the Seoul Dynasty's homestand in Dongdaemun, Seoul during Week 5, March 7-8.

Wednesday, Jan. 29

Overwatch League

OWL cancels February and March homestands in China

The Overwatch League announced that February and March homestands scheduled to take place in China were cancelled to protect the health and safety of fans in light of the coronavirus that has been affecting the country.

Saturday, Jan. 25

League of Legends

China's LPL and LDL postpone season as outbreak worsens

China's League of Legends Pro League and League of Legends Development League announced they had postponed their seasons amid the country's coronavirus outbreak.

The LPL and LDL were set to resume Feb. 3 after a break for the Lunar New Year.