On the same day China announced it will not host any major international sporting events the rest of this year because of the coronavirus, ESPN on Thursday reported there may be a chance one of the biggest esports events in the world may still take place in the country.
According to the report, Riot Games -- developer of League of Legends -- is in talks with China to keep the 2020 LoL World Championships, using a bubble approach similar to what the NBA is doing as it prepares to resume its season.
The bubble approach is designed to house competitors in close quarters to limit their contact with anyone outside the bubble in an effort to prevent the contraction and spread of COVID-19. The NBA's bubble is at ESPN's Wide World of Sports campus at Disney World near Orlando.
Per the report, Riot Games would invite the 24 qualified teams to Shanghai, and quarantine them in the same hotel for weeks prior to the start of the world championships. From there, they would compete from a centralized location. The dates for the world championships have yet to be determined.
When China announced its sporting ban, it did make an exception for the trials for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, which Beijing is hosting. But according to ESPN, the ban should not affect the LoL event, either.
China was originally supposed to host the worlds as a six-city event with the finals in Shanghai. ESPN said that China is expected to get the 2021 world championships and that North America -- the scheduled host of the 2021 event -- will get the 2020 worlds, instead.
--Field Level Media