CSGO Rio Major Canceled Due to COVID-19, First LAN to Return in December
Coronavirus has struck again, this time dealing a death blow to any potential CSGO Majors being held for the foreseeable future, as the upcoming Rio Major has been canceled. This means that 2019 will be the first year since 2013 that we will not see a single CSGO Major, a serious setback to a scene that’s been seen as one of esports’ most consistent over the years.
The Coronavirus’ impact on esports cannot be overstated – 2020 will live on as a year that has many asterisks next to any team accomplishment, especially without Majors to prove their dominance. The only bright side? ESL will be holding a LAN event (potentially) in December, meaning that we will have a return to LAN play for the first time since December.
Coronavirus Puts ESL Rio Major on Hold
Valve and ESL jointly broke the news to an increasingly nervous CSGO fanbase, who hadn’t heard any updates on the event, despite the coronavirus raging in Rio and Brazil generally. As of writing, there have been 4.18 million cases of Coronavirus in Brazil, with 128,000 deaths. Rio itself, as a state, has had 233,000 cases, and over 16,000 deaths.
“Together with Valve we had to make the tough but safe decision to cancel the ESL One Rio Major 2020 due to the ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” ESL said in a statement. “We worked through several alternative options down to the last hour to make the Major a reality, but ultimately have to face the fact that the global situation currently does not allow for a Major to take place. While Valve is currently not able to say when and how Majors will return, as soon as they do we’ll work to bring the Major to Rio. New dates will be announced once a return for an in-arena Major is safe for everyone involved. All purchased tickets remain fully valid or can be refunded upon request.”
For Valve, the Coronavirus pandemic has represented a major blow to their esports plans. Not only was the CSGO Rio Major canceled, but they also had to delay The International into 2021, marking the first year that we will not see both a CSGO Major and a TI since the inception of both systems. In fact, the only competition that seems to be continuing unabated from a publisher standpoint is League of Legends Worlds on LAN, with some publishers committing to running online events instead like Activision Blizzard and Capcom. Valve has decided that this route isn’t worth doing.
“When we announced the Rio Major, we were excited to bring a CSGO Major to one of Counter-Strike’s most passionate fan bases,” Valve said in their own statement. “At the time, we couldn’t have imagined the global challenges that have limited live events throughout 2020. We’re not going to ask players and fans to risk their health in order to attend a Major while the pandemic still poses a threat to travelers. Therefore, we have made the painful decision to cancel the November Major.
Valve has stated that they will not be holding or scheduling any majors until it becomes clear how the global response to COVID evolves. Valve and ESL both seem committed to bringing a major, but not necessarily the next major, to Brazil once they begin scheduling these events again.
A Return to LAN Play?
All’s not lost, despite the CSGO Rio Major being canceled, however. ESL announced in the same moment that CSGO fans should be able to look forward to in-person, LAN competition in Cologne, Germany this December. This means that the then 9-month dry spell of LANs will be at an end, with teams itching to prove themselves before the Christmas break.
“The IEM Global Challenge 2020 is set to bring CSGO and it’s players back to a LAN environment across 15th – 20th of December!” ESL said in a statement. “With 8 top teams being directly invited to compete for $500,000 live from Cologne, Germany. The prize money for this tournament comes from the $500,000 ESL One Cologne prize purse deferral which was previously planned for redistribution for tournaments in 2021.”
ESL was quick to note that the situation with regards to COVID-19 is always changing and shifting, and could easily have to also be canceled or pushed back should the situation worsen in Cologne.