Riot Games is reportedly planning to host the 2020 League of Legends World Championship (Worlds) in a single-city, bubble hub format this year, after China’s top sports body confirmed almost all remaining international sporting events would be canceled or suspended.
The League of Legends developers are reportedly already in discussions to hold this year’s top international event in a “bubble hub” format, similar to other major sporting leagues like the NBA, Premier League, and Formula 1.
Riot would bring all 24 qualified teams to Shanghai, where the final was originally set to be hosted this year, weeks prior to the tournament start date, ESPN has suggested. All participating players would be quarantined in the same hotel for the duration of the event, close to the contained matchday venue.
The move comes after The Associated Press initially reported China had made the decision to not stage any international sports events for the rest of 2020. While LoL is not technically included in this ruling, Riot will still follow the same procedures.
The localized plans are certainly a smaller scale model than the six-city event Riot originally had planned to celebrate their MOBA title’s 10th competitive anniversary. The format has had major success in other domestic codes, however.
Formula 1 kick-started their 2020 championship last weekend at the Red Bull Ring in Austria with a crowdless race. Only the 20 grid race drivers, essential operating staff, and Sky Sports media were permitted in the event’s paddock.
The English Premier League adopted a similar “bubble hub” format to facilitate its return in the UK last month. Liverpool were crowned champions for the first time in 30 years in front of an empty stadium. The NBA will also re-start on July 30 under similar circumstances, with all games to be played at Walt Disney World.
Reports are also suggesting China would be handed the 2021 World Championship, to make up for their stripped-down event this year. That would mean the 2022 edition would be hosted by North America, who are currently in line for next year’s event.
At this time, no League teams have qualified for Worlds 2020. The LPL and LEC will send four representatives. Other major leagues, including LCK — who, as a region, have won five times in nine events — and LCS, will send three.
Riot has yet to officially comment on the changing format for the 2020 World Championship circumstances. The League developers are expected to confirm new plans before the end of the domestic Summer season in September.