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Citing concerns about the global novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the NBA 2K League announced that it is postponing the start of its 2020 season, which was scheduled to launch March 24. Instead the league dedicated to 2K Games’ NBA 2K20 will focus on “preseason competitions” played remotely by teams from their respective home markets, similar to the strategy implemented by China’s League of Legends Pro League in the early days of the outbreak.
“The health and well-being of our players, teams, and fans is of paramount importance,” said NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue, in a statement. “We will continue to evaluate the situation and do everything possible to bring the excitement of the NBA 2K League to our fans through remote preseason exhibitions and other content. We look forward to sharing additional information about these exhibitions and the start of the 2020 season as it becomes available.”
NBA 2K League joins a growing list of esports competitions and gaming events that have been canceled, postponed, or altered in a way that limits or excludes attendance by fans. That list includes Overwatch League, Call of Duty League, League of Legends European Championship (LEC), ESL Pro League, Flashpoint 1, China’s League of Legends Pro League (LPL), League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK), E3 2020, SXSW 2020, the Game Developers Conference, and TwitchCon Amsterdam, among many other leagues and events that have been affected.
This week the traditional sports world was also forced to face the fact that concerns about the coronavirus pandemic trumped everything else: The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) March Madness Division I basketball tournament was canceled, as was Major League Baseball’s (MLB) remaining spring training schedule. Major League Soccer (MLS) suspended its season for 30 days, while US Soccer nixed games for the men’s and women’s national teams until some time April. The National Hockey League (NHL) said it would suspend its season, effective immediately, as did the National Basketball Association (NBA). NASCAR decided to restrict attendance to its upcoming events, while the PGA Tour decided it would continue on as scheduled, but without fans. Finally, World Wrestling Entertainment’s (WWE) fledgling professional football league, the XFL, has suspended its 2020 season, and CEO Vince McMahon met with officials in Tampa today to discuss the fate of WrestleMania, the WWE’s marquee wrestling event of the year. Currently, no announcements regarding esports associated with any other traditional sports have been made.
For more details on all of the events and activities that have been canceled, delayed, or altered, check out this exhaustive and regularly updated list.
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