The Chines League of Legends circuit, the LPL, will return on March 9 with an online format, after being on hiatus since early February due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The LPL was originally supposed to resume Feb. 5 right after the Chinese New Year holidays, but health concerns postponed it indefinitely, with organizers not willing to expose fans and players to potential health risks.
Until today, there had been no information from the organizers when the league would resume. This raised further scheduling concerns, particularly about the 2020 Mid-Season Invitational and whether the LPL can finish in time for the first big international event of the year. MSI traditionally takes place first week of May, while the LPL has the most grueling and stacked schedule of all leagues, with matches happening every single day of the week without exception. In 2019, the LPL Spring Playoffs finished just about two weeks before MSI 2019 started. With the coronavirus already delaying the planned LPL schedule by three weeks, it became more and more likely that original timeline of the tournaments would not be possible. This, in turn, led to Riot Games announcing that the reveal of timing and location of MSI 2020 will be delayed.
According to the official announcement about LPL’s return, the organizers’ main concern is the safely and health of its players and staff.
“Except for those who have failed to return to their base of operations due to local regulations, other contestants and relevant staff will undergo quarantine in accordance with local regulations at the location of the club,” the league announced.
As all matches will switch to online format to contain virus exposure, the LPL will also be taking measures to supervise and regulate this unorthodox process.
The league will provide the exact schedule in a follow-up announcement, and unless Riot have accepted that massive delays to its global circuit are OK, it’s likely that LPL will have more than two matches played on any given day.