The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has caused another cancellation on the esports calendar as ESL VP of pro gaming Michal “Carmac” Blicharz confirmed Monday that the ESL Rio Major has been postponed to November 19-22.
Originally, the Rio Major was supposed to happen this May, but the growing threat of the coronavirus has forced ESL to take measures. Carmac confirmed that the venue will remain the same and ticket purchases will remain valid, but the tournament itself will endure some changes.
Since there will be only one CS:GO Major this year — for the first time in Major history — ESL will put on a $2M prize pool for Rio, double the usual amount for Majors. Qualification and invitations will also have to be “considered afresh”, Carmac confirmed, which is a necessary measure given the extreme situation. Traditionally, the top 8 teams from the previous Major are guaranteed Legend slots for the next. With more than a year between the Berlin Major and the Rio Major, however, seeding the Berlin top 8 into Rio doesn’t make sense.
Valve and ESL will likely have to also address new time frames for roster locks and transfer windows.
ESL are yet to provide a statement on what will happen to their other events this year. The iconic ESL Cologne is scheduled for July 6-12, while IEM Melbourne comes next, August 17-23.