After the abrupt end to the LEC and LCS’s scheduled programming last weekend, fans were left in the dark as to the future of the tournament- with Europe and North America following in the footsteps of both the Chinese and Korean broadcasts due to safety concerns as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier today, the official Twitter accounts for the League of Legends European Championship and League of Legends Championship series tweeted how they'll both return in an online capacity.
The #LEC Returns this Friday!— LEC (@LEC) March 17, 2020
Due to the ongoing developments of the coronavirus pandemic we have decided to play the remainder of the 2020 LEC Spring Split 100% remotely online, with matches resuming Friday, March 20th.
More info: https://t.co/Ewe5oZExfRpic.twitter.com/fZOcS2Zoid
The broadcast team won't be behind the desk this weekend with their work being done from home. (Credit: Michal Konkol/Riot Games)
The LEC will be mirroring the production strategy currently being employed for the LPL broadcast; players ‘will be asked to play from their respective training centres and the show will be produced remotely from homes of LEC production and broadcast staff’, in order to continue providing content to viewers whilst protecting the health of both players and production staff.
- Read more: How the Coronavirus has impacted esports
In order to maintain competitive integrity without using the referee system, Riot has outlined that they will be employing ‘additional cameras to monitor the rooms the players will compete in, fully monitoring voice communications, screen recording, and remote control ability, on top of other measures currently being considered’.
In NA, less has been disclosed about the refereeing system going forward, however, it is safe to assume that similar measures to EU will be put in place.
Additionally, the new format of Academy Rush will be scrapped, in favour of broadcasting five back-to-back academy games on the Thursdays and Fridays before LCS games.
Although the viewer experience will be markedly different to what League fans are currently used to, the return of these tournaments will hopefully provide entertainment for the many people isolated in their homes due to governmental restrictions in numerous countries in an attempt to control the COVID-19 outbreak.
The LEC will return on Friday 20th March 2020, at 17:00 GMT, with LCS Academy beginning on Thursday 19th March, followed by the start of LCS on Saturday 21st March.