The LCS and LEC have announced an end to audience and press attendance at events in the wake of growing concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The news broke mid-afternoon on Thursday, a day ahead of the start of the weekend’s games.
The announcement explained that the LCS would attempt to return to live audience for the 2020 Spring Finals, set to be held in Frisco, Texas.
Just half an hour later, the LEC announced similar measures to the LCS, confirming in an accompanying post that they would be cancelling the live audience and onsite press attendance at the LEC Studio in Berlin for the remainder of the 2020 Spring Split, including Finals.
The post also detailed that LEC team Origen, who are based in Copenhagen, Denmark, will play this week’s matches remotely after the Danish government ordered the second country-wide lockdown in Europe.
The news comes after one of the most significant days of closures and cancellations due to COVID-19, not just in esports, but in almost every industry. ESL One Los Angeles, one of the biggest Dota 2 events of the year was postponed late last night. This happened just hours after the NBA announced a cessation to the league following Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert testing positive for coronavirus.
Coronavirus continues to affect esports, and in the wake of cancellations, many have called to a full move to online play. While not ideal, due to issues of ping, latency, and reliability of internet service providers, esports is unique in its capacity to be played in isolation, especially compared to traditional sports.
Many, inside and out of the industry, have suggested that esports is set to surge with the restrictions in place:
Ultimately, for the LCS and LEC, the games will continue. Although without crowds, the unique atmosphere that the leagues had will inevitably change.