After loads of speculation surrounding the state of Worlds 2020, the biggest event in League of Legends esports, Riot Games finally announced Shanghai, China will host the event digitally.
“…the team has been tirelessly working to see that all possible measures are taken to preserve the wellbeing of everyone,” said John Needham, Global Head of Esports at Riot Games.
Worlds 2020, 2021, and 2022
In order to reduce the risk from the ongoing pandemic, Riot is consolidating Worlds’ multiple stages into one location. Previously, tournaments took tours around the host region to give fans as many chances as possible to attend. This time, the tournament will be held solely in Shanghai.
“We continue to follow guidelines from health organizations around the world,” said Nicolo Laurent, CEO at Riot Games.
In order to compensate, Worlds will also return to China in 2021. ESPN writer Tyler Erzberger referenced massive amounts of money being poured into a Chinese hosted event. A second-round will allow fans to not only attend but still see the Worlds 2020 spectacle Riot had in store.
Riot is also postponing Worlds 2022 in North America to 2022. Considering the US is still fighting the infection, it is unknown if NA will prepare enough to host an international event. This delay allows more time to bring COVID-19 under control.
League of Legends Esports
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, nobody knew the fate of Worlds 2020. Riot kept silent in conversations surrounding the League of Legends World Championship. The company only stuck to public management of just the regional leagues. On July 9, the General Administration of Sport of China announced the cancellation of all major sporting events for the rest of the year. With Worlds set to occur in China, fans theorized that the tournament would move to Europe or Korea. But since the event is now online, Riot likely found a way to circumvent the new Chinese government guidelines.
For many, 2020 brought about unprecedented hardship. The pandemic and economic downturn ravages the livelihood of people across the world. And while Riot’s 10 year anniversary may have been celebrated in 2019, the League of Legends World Championship’s 10 year anniversary is in 2020.
Worlds is a constant event. Esports fans look forward to the competition all year. Hopefully, in spite of these challenges, Riot Games can produce the spectacle that League of Legends players have come to expect and enjoy.
Written by Devon Huge