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Worlds schedule in Shanghai causes concern for LCK fans

2020 League of Legends World Championship poster (Riot Games)
2020 League of Legends World Championship poster (Riot Games)

The 2020 League of Legends World Championship will be held in Shanghai, opening on Sept. 25, according to Riot Games on Saturday, alarming LCK fans because of the tight schedule.

While previous LoL World Championships have been held at multiple cities in the hosting region, this year’s tournament this year will be held only in Shanghai in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety of players.

“To ensure the health and safety of fans, pro players and everyone involved in bringing Worlds 2020 to life, instead of touring across China, all stages will be held in Shanghai. This will reduce travel over the course of the tournament and give us the ability to more closely control the event environment,” said Nicolo Laurent, CEO of Riot Games.

Large-scale events had been planned all across China with this year to mark the 10th anniversary of LoL esports. Those have now been scrapped, but China will get another chance in spotlight when it hosts the 2021 World Championship. The 2022 World Championship will be held in North America.

“I don’t want to offer any spoilers, but all of us at Riot are incredibly excited for this year’s show and how we are bringing the live sporting experience to you digitally,” said John Needham, head of esports at Riot Games.

The games will be played with an audience if local guidelines permit.

The finals on Oct. 31 will be the first event held at the newly constructed Pudong Soccer Stadium in Shanghai, where the 2023 AFC Asian Cup will take place.
“Take Over” is the official theme for the 2020 LoL World Championship (Riot Games)
“Take Over” is the official theme for the 2020 LoL World Championship (Riot Games)

With the date for the World Championship finalized, LoL Champions Korea players expressed their determination to perform at the worlds, but also expressed concerns at the tight schedule.

“If we go to worlds after the season is over, the time to rest will be very short. But we will try to go in good conditions. Our goal is, of course, to win,” said Ruler of Gen. G.

The summer season for the LCK is scheduled to end with finals on Sept. 5. In the past, the first round of World Championship qualifiers, which determined the last seed team to make the worlds, began one week after the summer finals. The following rounds previously ended within that week on Saturday which is Sept. 12 for this year. The lowest ranked-qualifier from the LCK has to play in the preliminary stage of the worlds that starts on Sept. 25, before the group stage.

This means that the last LCK team to qualify has to go through quarantine and plan strategies for the world championship within a two-week period, a huge burden to the players and coaching staff. Online communities in regions other than China are all voicing concerns regarding the tight schedule, as players will also have to deal with jet lag.

Winning the LCK summer season and going into the World Championship as the automatic first seed seems more important than ever for the LCK teams hoping to perform on the top stage.

By Lim Jang-won (ljw@heraldcorp.com)
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