The coronavirus outbreak has already caused a number of major esports events, such as the Overwatch League, to postpone and reschedule a number of game weeks. Now the effects are being felt across the League of Legends esports community too, with the announcement from Riot of a major reschedule for the Mid Season Invitational and Summer Splits, plus the seeming end of the Rift Rivals tournaments.
In their recent announcement, Riot confirmed that due to the coronavirus outbreak, this year’s Mid Season Invitational tournament, which usually takes place in May, had been moved to July, with a tentative schedule running from July 3 to July 19.
As a result of this, the Summer Splits will also have to be moved in the calendar, with teams starting this secondary part of the League of Legends season much earlier in the year than usual.
However, it is the demise of the Rift Rivals tournaments that have drawn most comments from fans across the globe.
Rift Rivals Demise
In truth, it seems that Riot Games had been thinking about the long term future of Rift Rivals for some time. In their statement, their Global Head of LoL Esports John Needham stated:
“After reviewing the calendar and listening to feedback from our teams and players, we have decided to sunset Rift Rivals in the remaining regions where the tournament was scheduled to take place.”
He continued; “Rift Rivals produced some epic battles, but the challenges it created to the annual schedule were felt at both a regional and global level. We remain committed to producing globally resonant events that showcase our sport, and will work with regions to determine fresh ways to do so in the years ahead.”
At the moment, there are no words on what tournament, if any, will be developed to replace Rift Rivals in the calendar. However, it seems that the coronavirus crisis and the effect this has had on the esports tournament schedule over the last few months has made Riot Games make this decision a lot more quickly and easily.
Summer Split Dates
With the Mid Season Invitational being moved to July, this has impacted the start dates of the Summer Split and Rival Games have confirmed the new start dates for this part of the season. Most of the different league’s around the world will start at some point between May 15 and May 31st, with just one, the LCL, starting on June 6.
However, Riot Games have echoed further caution with these dates at the end of their statement where they stated that they will “continue to assess the situation to ensure the best experience for fans and players, and update you along the way.”
Does that suggest that if the coronavirus epidemic worsens on a global scale, these dates could be altered once again? Given the severity of the outbreak and the impact it has already had on major esports and sporting events across the world, another reschedule or even a postponement cannot be out of the question at this time.