League of Legends Champions Korea Play Suspended Due to the Spread of Coronavirus

  • Riot Games Korea announced that the League of Legends Champions Korea League (LCK) would suspend play starting March 9 due to coronavirus concerns.
  • LCK host Mina Kim became ill and was taken to the hospital with a fever, but tested negative for the virus.
  • Media and staff were quarantined for over 11 hours while being tested for the virus.

Late Tuesday evening, Riot Games Korea announced the suspension of play in the League of Legends Champions Korea League (LCK) due to concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Competition will be suspended indefinitely starting March 9. Riot has not announced when the league will restart, but said a statement that it will be forthcoming at a later date.

The coronavirus outbreak, which originated in Wuhan, China, has affected the esports scene in recent weeks with events and leagues such as the Chinese League of Legends Professional League (LPL) having suspended offline play since Jan. 19. However, as many leagues scramble to find answers, the LPL has decided to continue league play online, substituting arena play with live audiences.

ESL, the tournament organizers behind the Intel Extreme Masters Katowice, a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament, was told just before its semi-final and finals events that the Polish Governor of Silesia revoked its permit to use Spodek Arena for a live, fan-attended event. The announcement was issued just hours before doors were to be opened, which led to matches being played in the arena with staff and press only present.

On the media side, the LCK told the media that they would not have access to players, coaches, and staff, and closed the media room after host Mina Kim became ill and was taken to the hospital with a fever. According to ESPN, Kim tested negative for coronavirus, but media were placed in quarantine after being tested. Media has not had access to the league since.

Thus far, the Overwatch League, League of Legends Pro League(LPL)  in China, LCK in Korea, and Japan have been affected as well as numerous other events. Alibaba Sports announced it would cancel the World Electronic Sports Games (WESG) APAC Grand Final in Macau and Tencent announced the delay of the grand finals of CrossFire Professional League (CFPL) and CrossFire Mobile League (CFML) in Kunming.

Makeup dates have not been announced for the majority of these leagues and events. 

According to a CNN report, the coronavirus has infected over 90K people spanning 73 countries and territories. The Global death toll sits at 3,115 as of this writing.

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