Coronavirus Pandemic Hits eSports as Rio ESL Event Gets Rescheduled

Published 03/23/2020, 12:44 PM EDT


It is now clear that nothing is safe from the coronavirus pandemic. Already, a number of global sports have been disrupted, cancelled or postponed. For a while, it appeared that eSports may benefit from the lack of real sporting events. Unfortunately, it appears that it may be short-lived.

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Electronic Sports League (ESL) and Valve were expected to host the ESL One Rio Major in May. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has forced them to push it back to November and cancel the second Major. The good news is that the Rio Major’s prize pool will be doubled as compensation.

Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) became the coronavirus outbreak’s latest victim. The Rio Major is the first CS:GO Major of 2020. Instead, the Rio Major will take over the November time slot and hoe that the coronavirus pandemic finishes weaving its web of devastation.

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It is also noteworthy that the doubled prize pools makes the Rio Major the biggest in the history of CS:GO. As per the ESL’s decision, people who paid for May tickets will still be able to attend the event in November. Additionally, fans can also request a refund via Eventbrite.

How will this affect the eSports community?

The ESL also promised further updates about the Major’s participants. With no Major in the first part of 2020, participants of the StarLadder Berlin Major will likely have to retain the core of their lineup. This will only be possible if they want to keep their invitation for Rio. The change will likely have a huge impact on player transfers for the foreseeable future.

Previously, Valve and ESL cancelled their planned Dota 2 Major in Los Angeles. However, industry insiders revealed that the original plan was to make it a closed-door event. The volte face came about because of the US travel ban which was announced at the time, so they opted to cancel altogether. With over 1500 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Brazil on March 23, the organizers’ hand was pretty much forced.

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Dhruv George

12102 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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