China's LPL to broadcast online scrims amid coronavirus hiatus

The LPL still has a hiatus on live matches, but will broadcast a number of online scrims amidst coronavirus concerns. Provided by Riot Games

While China's League of Legends Pro League officially remains on hiatus due to the (COVID-19) coronavirus outbreak, competition will resume in the form of broadcasted online scrims between LPL teams beginning on Feb. 26, according to the league's official Weibo and Twitter accounts.

The matches will follow the LPL's best-of-three format and the teams participating in this initial test will be Top Esports, JD Gaming, Suning, Victory Five, and eStar. Matches will take place over four days, with two matches each day.

The LPL was scheduled to return on Feb. 5 after a two-week break for the Lunar New Year. On Jan. 25, the league announced that it was going on hiatus due to the spread of the virus, which has now infected over 74,000 people and caused over 2,000 deaths in China, according to Reuters. The latest reports had the slowest daily rise in coronavirus cases since Jan. 29, indicating a potential slowing-down of the virus.

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Most cases have been concentrated around the coronavirus epicenter of Wuhan and surrounding areas in Hubei Province. Travel bans and quarantines have been put in place since the Lunar New Year holiday, leaving some players unable to travel back to Shanghai, where the main LPL stage is located, or their various geolocated cities. Some teams, like EDward Gaming, have begun moving some of their players and staff back to their home bases, following quarantine rules and taking all necessary precautions.

Elsewhere in esports, the Pacific Championship Series, which includes former LoL Master Series teams in addition to Southeast Asian teams, announced Wednesday that they will resume play on Feb. 29. Unlike the LPL, the PCS is primarily an online league. China's secondary League of Legends league, the LoL Development League, is expected to start back up again toward the end of February.

The Overwatch League recently announced the rescheduling of their March and April homestands that were scheduled to take place in Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Hangzhou, China. They will now take place in Seoul, South Korea.