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'League of Legends' mid-season tournament canceled due to COVID-19

Delaying the event from May to July wasn't enough to make MSI viable.
Kris Holt, @krisholt
April 23, 2020
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TAIPEI, TAIWAN - MAY 19: Crowd and stage at League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational Finals on May 19, 2019 in Taipei, Taiwan. (Photo by Timo Verdeil/ESPAT Media/Getty Images)
ESPAT Media via Getty Images

Bringing esports teams from around the world together for a major in-person tournament isn’t exactly feasible right now, nor will it be any time soon due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, Riot Games has cancelled this year’s League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational (MSI).

Riot had tried to keep the tournament on the schedule by bumping it from May to July, but the situation isn't likely to have improved enough by then for MSI to be able to go ahead. Calling off the event was "necessary to ensure the health and safety of the players, teams, crew, partners, media, and fans," LoL esports head John Needham wrote in a blog post.

Running a remote version of the event isn't exactly viable. Teams are spread far and wide and latency will have a significant impact on matches. The LoL regional leagues are still in play, however, and cutting this year's MSI means they can stick to their original Summer Split schedules. 

MSI results usually have a significant bearing on world championship seeding, but that won’t play a factor this year. With that in mind, Riot has announced changes to the regional seed allocation for Worlds 2020. The MSI cancellation "also allows us to dedicate our global esports team and resources to planning for Worlds 2020," Needham wrote. "We are totally committed to delivering the biggest spectacle we’ve ever produced in China to celebrate our sport’s 10-year anniversary."

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