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Riot reveals major LCS Championship changes over COVID resurgence

League of Legends developer Riot has announced major changes to its 2021 LCS Championship event due to the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the United States. The biggest change is that these matches will take place not in Newark, New Jersey, as planned, but instead at LA’s LCS Arena. In a statement, Riot said, “We cannot in good conscience conduct a massive fan event at this time.”

Riot explains that it planned the LCS Championship as a ‘road show’ due to the mass COVID-19 vaccine rollout earlier this year. However, public health officials have been raising the alarm over the Delta variant and the number of cases that are increasing across the US, particularly in states with low vaccination rates.

Due to this change in circumstances, some big changes have been made to the esports event, including that all matches will be held at the LCS Arena in Los Angeles instead of at the Prudential Center in New Jersey. As you’d expect, Riot says that it will give full refunds to people who purchased tickets to the events.

This was supposed to be a “sold-out celebration” event, making the decision particularly disappointing. Riot goes on to state, “After assessing the risks, no set of protocols or plans allowed us to deliver that event without jeopardizing the health of our teams, staff and fans.” Fans will not be able to attend the event in person; no tickets at the updated venue will be sold.

Though the change has taken place this year, Riot is optimistic that it will be able to do more next year. As well, a future LCS esports event will take place at the Prudential Center in New Jersey. With uncertainty remaining around the pandemic, variants, and cases, no concrete future plans have been stated.

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Riot moves in-person ‘League of Legends’ championship due to COVID-19 surge

The eSports world is coming to grips with a resurgent COVID-19 threat. As The Verge notes, Riot Games has moved the last two matches of the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) from Newark, New Jersey’s Prudential Center to the LCS Arena in Los Angeles. The US spread of the new coronavirus’ Delta variant has made it impractical to hold the large in-person event “in good conscience” even with vaccines in use, Riot said.

The LCS Arena is a “safer” location that will protect the health of Worlds representatives before they go to China, Riot said. While it wasn’t surprised that other events would carry on, the Series didn’t need to put people at risk just to offer its “core competitive product.” LoL teams have played against each other in person at LCS Arena over the summer, but even those were derailed in favor of virtual competition after people associated with two teams tested positive for COVID-19.

The developer promised events at Prudential Center in the future, and said it would offer full refunds. More details would be coming soon, Riot added.

Other eSports leagues, such as the Call of Duty League, have pressed forward with in-person events in spite of the virus surge. However, Riot’s decision suggests that at least some organizers are having a change of heart. We wouldn’t be surprised if others followed suit, at least until vaccine use climbs and cases (hopefully) drop again.

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League of Legends World Championship Host Cities Announced

League of Legends developer Riot Games has announced the five cities that will host this year’s League of Legends World Championship. The tournament will take place in the Chinese cities of Qingdao, Wuhan, Chengdu, Shanghai, and Shenzen.

The League of Legends World Championship takes place every year and pits the top teams from 12 regional leagues against each other. Every year, the location for this tournament changes regions and different cities host various events at different stages.

The start date of the tournament has yet to be determined, but the grand finals will be held in Shenzen on November 6.

The 2020 League of Legends World Championship also took place in China, however, Shanghai was the only city that hosted the event. For safety concerns, it was decided to hold the event in one location. During last year’s event, the tournament mainly took place in a closed environment, with only the grand finals being held in front of a live audience. It has not been confirmed whether or not the 2021 League of Legends World Championship will take place in front of a live audience. However, the Universiade Sports Center in Shanghai can hold over 60,000 guests.

This will be China’s third time hosting the League of Legends World Championship, after having done so in 2017 and 2020. North America was slated to host the 2020 League of Legends World Championship, but Riot Games decided to move the tournament to China due to the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020.

Riot Games confirmed that North America will host the League of Legends World Championship in 2022.

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