The world of Esports has been suffering in the last few weeks. Many gamers are big basketball fans, and so the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant hit many players hard. Whilst recovering from that accident, the Coronavirus outbreak hit the headlines. Many tournaments have been postponed due to lock downs in various cities.
With over 75,000 confirmed cases of the disease and over 2000 deaths, the world has been gripped by the rapid spreading infection.
On January 22nd, Alibaba Sports announced that the WESG (World Electronic Sports Games) APAC Grand Final due to be held in Macau from the 16th to 18th Feb would have to be cancelled due to the outbreak. Tencent announced on the 26th January that they would be delaying the finals of the CrossFire Professional League and the Mobile League, due to take place on the 29th Feb in Kunmig. A new date has yet to be confirmed for the CFPL and CFML, and will depend on the progression of the virus. Also on the 26th January, TJ Sports said that the LPL (League of Legends Pro League) Spring Split would also be postponed.
Both TJ Sports and Tencent have stated that the decision to postpone their events was made to avoid crowds gathering, therefore minimising the risk of transmission between both players and fans.
Events have not just been affected in China. The LCK (League of Legends Champions Korea) whilst still hosting their Spring Split decided to close this event to spectators, as announced in a statement by Inven Global. They also cancelled their media day which had been set for the 30th January.
The rapid spread of the virus has seen some positive signs of unity, with game publishers Tencent and NetEase, esports organisers Team Aster and Team Liquid, and also streaming platforms Douyu and Huya have pledged millions of Ren Min Bi to support the city of Wuhan during this time of crisis. Tencent alone have donated over 30 million dollars to medical organisations in the area. One player, Zihao Jian, known as Uzi, who comes from Hubei, in the Wuhan region, paid for 20,000 medical masks to be sent to the Yichang hospital where he was born.
Whilst the world of esports reels from the cancellation and delay or various events, players are bolstered by the signs of unity from so many important companies and teams, and the outpouring of support worldwide.