UPDATE: Psyonix announced on Saturday that the Rocket League regional championships would be the pinnacle of Season 9 in light of the cancellation of the Rocket League world championship. The company will be distributing $250,000 in additional prize money for the regional championships across the four regions -- North America, Europe, Oceania and South America -- that would have competed at the world championship.
Psyonix, the developer of Rocket League, announced Thursday that the Rocket League Championship Series world championship has been canceled because of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
Psyonix announced the cancellation of the April 24-26 event in Dallas, Texas, on the Rocket League esports website.
"The remainder of Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) Season 9 League Play will be played as scheduled to the Regional Championships and Promotion Tournament," the developer said in a statement. "We're evaluating all options to replace World Championship play. Once we have more information to share, we'll update everyone."
The post also notes that all broadcasts will be done remotely, including casting talent, who will perform their duties from their respective homes. People who purchased tickets for the event will be refunded in full, Psyonix said.
The coronavirus has infected nearly 98,000 people worldwide and killed over 3,300, the vast majority of them in China, according to The Associated Press.
On Thursday, Italy announced that all sporting events be played without an audience present until April 3. Previously, China had put a halt to all sports- and esports-related live events until April 30.
The League of Legends Pro League in China and League Champions Korea in South Korea have suspended League of Legends play due to the spread of the virus, with the LPL starting up again March 9 in an online format. Other events, including three Capcom Pro Tour stops, Overwatch League homestands in China and South Korea, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament IEM Katowice were either postponed or carried on without an in-person audience. Gaming events such as the Game Developers Conference have also been affected.
Reporting note: Coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, is a new strain of coronavirus that has surged around the globe in recent months. The coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious respiratory diseases. Flu is caused by a different virus. There is no vaccine for coronavirus, though researchers are working on one and hope to begin testing soon. Older people, especially those with chronic illnesses such as heart or lung disease, are most at risk. The coronavirus spreads mainly through coughs and sneezes, though it also can be transferred from surfaces. The best way to prevent infection is by frequent hand-washing, cleaning surfaces with regular household sprays and wipes, and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.