The 2020 League of Legends World Championship will take place in Shanghai, China, from September 25 to October 31, as revealed by Riot Games on Friday.
With this decision, Riot moved away from the original plan to stage the tournament across several different cities for its various stages, as was the case in the previous editions.
The change comes as an added safety measure due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which had put the future of the 2020 LoL Worlds in doubt. There was also speculation that the format of the event could be altered if it went ahead at all, but Riot confirmed that would not be the case.
Nicolo Laurent, CEO of Riot Games, stated that the change was implemented to reduce travel for the duration of the tournament.
“We have been closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19, partnering with local and national authorities, external risk and safety consultants, and we continue to follow guidance from various health organisations around the world, to ensure the health and safety of fans, pro players and everyone involved in bringing Worlds 2020 to life,” said Mr Laurent.
“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 monitor the event environment.”
The 2020 LoL Worlds grand finals will be held at the Pudong Soccer Stadium, which is still under construction and is slated to become the home venue of the Chinese Super League club Shanghai SIPG. There is a slim possibility live audiences will be allowed to attend the title matches, but that will depend on the status of the COVID-19 situation at the end of October.
In addition to the announcement regarding the change of venue for the 2020 LoL World Championship, Riot Games unveiled that in a bid to “celebrate the rich esports and cultural heritage of the host country” and “deliver the experience promised to the fans”, the 2021 iteration of the premier international competition will return to China to produce a “full Worlds tour”. In the same announcement, Riot also revealed that that the 2022 iteration of the competition will return to North America for the fourth time and the first time since 2016.
The 2020 LoL World Championship main event will feature 16 teams, as per usual, but with small changes to the regional slots, as revealed in April. The changes were ushered in by the cancellation of the 2020 Mid-Season Invitational and the formation of the Pacific Championship Series (PCS), which is the result of a merger between the League Masters Series (LMS) and League of Legends Southeast Asia Tour (LST).
In 2019, the LMS had three seeds and the LST had one. For the 2020 LoL World Championship, one of the LMS’s group stage seeds was awarded to Europe as the home region of back-to-back finalists. The seed previously held by LST in the play-ins stage was given to China, which won back-to-back titles with Invictus Gaming in 2018 and FunPlus Phoenix in 2019.
The 2020 LoL World Championship regional seedings will look as follows:
- Four seeds – LPL (China), LEC (Europe)
- Three seeds – LCK (Korea), LCS (North America)
- Two seeds – PCS (Southeast Asia), VCS (Vietnam)
- One seed – CBLOL (Brazil), TCL (Turkey), LJL (Japan), LLA (Latin America), OPL (Oceania), LCL (Commonwealth of Independent States)