China has just canceled all international sporting events for the remainder of 2020, meaning the League of Legends World Championships set to be held in Shanghai later this year is likely to be postponed, moved elsewhere, or played entirely online. Riot has not yet commented— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) July 9, 2020
The announcement stands at odds with a statement from Tencent, Riot’s parent company, also made today. The statement said that Tencent was hopeful that they would be able to work with the Chinese government to allow the World Championship to still occur in Shanghai, and that the company was still actively preparing to host the event.
(Picture: Riot Games)
The two opposing statements leave LoL fans with many questions and few definitive answers: will the Chinese government’s edict apply to LoL at all? And if it does, will Tencent be able to leverage their considerable influence to find a way for the event to go ahead regardless?
Worlds in KR online I guess is the only option or what? https://t.co/R7yxanzef8— LS (@LSXYZ9) July 9, 2020
A number of other options are available to Riot and Tencent beyond the nuclear of postponing or flat-out cancelling Worlds, if an arrangement can’t be reached. Fans and analysts alike have speculated on a few potential solutions.
One of the more plausible options would be to move the location of the event to South Korea and hold the event online, as the Korean server has famously low ping. Similarly, Europe and the LEC have decent ping and the LEC studios have an on-site team that has been used to broadcast on-location during the COVID-19 crisis.
The Elder Dragon roars its way to life in the Bird’s Nest Arena in Beijing at 2017 Worlds (Picture: Riot Games)
The news comes as the latest blow to Riot’s plans for 2020, which mark the 10th anniversary of League of Legends. Having the World Championships cancelled this late into planning would be a massive disappointment to all involved, considering the major events Riot surely have planned to celebrate - such as the upcoming Spirit Blossom Festival in patch 10.15.
Riot has yet to make a statement regarding the status of Worlds, or any planned change to the event.