Riot Games will not hold its international “League of Legends” Mid-Season Invitational tournament this year, a first in the competition’s five-year history.
The annual Mid-Season Invitational was originally scheduled for July 3-19. Riot had not announced a venue and refrained from setting a location for the event as the COVID-19 pandemic developed.
“Based on the modeling of our external risk advisors, it appears highly unlikely that either the global spread/impact of COVID-19 or the restrictive travel and public gathering policies responding to the crisis will abate significantly by the time of MSI’s current planned dates,” Riot Games Global Head of Esports John Needham said in a statement Thursday. “We have made the difficult decision to not hold MSI in 2020.”
Needham said that Riot will attempt to hold the upcoming summer split as planned. “By making this decision now, our regional leagues can revert to their original Summer Split schedules without the disruption of a multi-week, global event in July,” said Needham.
The Mid-Season Invitational was originally scheduled for May, but Riot announced in March that the tournament was tentatively being moved to July.
Removing the Mid-Season Invitational from the overall play schedule means Riot has to restructure its seeding for the upcoming 10th annual World Championships tournament, which will take place at an undetermined date this year. Riot has not released further information about when the World Championships will take place but said tournament play is planned to span six cities in China culminating in a finals in Shanghai.
Needham explained in a blog post that Riot will award seed placement to teams based on their existing performance in the worldwide “League of Legends” season so far.
In total four teams each from China (LPL) and Europe (LEC); three teams from Korea (LCK) and North America (LCS); two teams from Southeast Asia (PCS) and Vietnam (VCS) and one team each from Brazil, Turkey, Japan, Latin America, Oceania, and the Commonwealth of Independent States LCL leagues will compete in the World Championships.
Competition in Riot’s global leagues is happening mostly as planned; the developer moved competition to an online-only format in early March as governments began to enact social distancing orders.
“Fortunately, our 12 regional leagues have continued to operate using innovative production resources,” Needham said. “Our game and esport has served as an important source of entertainment on an almost daily basis to millions of players and fans–and will continue to do so.”