Riot Games announced today that the 2021 League of Legends Championship Series Championship weekend will no longer take place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey due to concerns of rising COVID-19 cases in the United States. The event will instead be held at the LCS Arena in Los Angeles from Aug. 28-29 and ticket-holding fans will receive full refunds.
2021 #LCS Championship Update
— LCS (@LCSOfficial) August 7, 2021
COVID-19 concerns change LCS Championship plans
On July 9, Riot revealed that the 2021 LCS Championship would host fans and a live audience. Since then, the Delta Variant — which is twice as contagious as previous COVID-19 strain and can infect vaccinated individuals — has become the most prominent COVID-19 strain in the United States, according to the CDC. According to Riot, implementing safety precautions wouldn’t negate the significant risk to fans, players and staff of the 2021 LCS Championship.
On July 23, Week 8 of the LCS summer split regular season, Immortals disclosed that two staff members had tested positive for COVID-19. This sparked the decision to hold all remaining regular season LCS matches remotely. According to LCS Players Association Executive Director Phillip Aram, 95% of LCS players have received COVID-19 vaccinations. And, according to a statement provided on Twitter, the LCSPA worked closely to find a means to safely host an in-person LCS Championship. The LCSPA supports Riot’s decision; especially with concerns of breakthrough Delta Variant cases as players travel internationally for the 2021 World Championship in China.
Upcomer reached out to Riot’s Head of NA and OCE Esports (and interim LCS commissioner) Chris Greeley for a statement on the cancellation. When Upcomer spoke with Greeley in June, he stated that there are plans to allow fans back into the LCS Arena in 2022, but Riot will be monitoring CDC guidelines closely.
The 2021 LCS Championship kicks off on Aug. 7 with Evil Geniuses vs. Dignitas QNTMPAY at 5 p.m. EST.