Coronavirus outbreak forces ESL Pro League Season 11 to go online-only

The cancellation of E3 due to the Covid-19 coronavirus is the big news of the day, but it's just one of many events being cancelled or modified. ESL has now announced that the upcoming ESL Pro League Season 11 CS:GO tournament will be played online, and that the finals will be moved from the 1stBank Center in Denver, Colorado, to a studio location in Europe, with no live audience.

"This decision was largely motivated by the fact that Malta, the country of our originally planned studio location, has instituted a wide range of travel restrictions and quarantine regulations as of today. We fully support all measures aimed at containing the Covid-19 dynamics as much as possible. These travel restrictions have made it impossible for a large amount of staff and the majority of teams to make their way to the planned season location," ESL said in a statement.

"Because of this, instead of having over a hundred players, coaches, team members and ESL staff in a single location over multiple weeks, teams and players will be playing their matches either from home, team houses or in suitable boot camp locations in Europe and play out their matches on dedicated online servers."

The coronavirus outbreak has forced changes to multiple gaming events, ranging from big shows like GDC and E3 to game-specific conferences such as Minecraft Festival and EVE Fanfest. Numerous esports competitions have also been halted or moved to online-only, including the Hearthstone Masters Tour Los Angeles, the Rocket League Season 9 World Championship, IEM Katowice, and the League of Legends China Pro Series. 

ESL said the teams and Counter-Strike Professional Players Association have been "extremely supportive," and teams are now opening their facilities to players coming in from other countries. "We are deeply sorry to all fans who have been looking forward to seeing the Finals in Denver and are hoping to bring an event there soon," it said. "Needless to say, we will refund all tickets and fans will be receiving further instruction from 1stBank Center shortly."

For more information on the Covid-19 coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control for updates in North America, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, or the World Health Organization

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.