ESL One: Rio 2020 Major cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic
The global health crisis continues to disrupt the Counter-Strike calendar as this will be the first year since 2013 without a Major.
The 2020 Counter-Strike Major Championship, ESL One: Rio, has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, ESL announced on Wednesday. The Major system has been put on hold for the time being because of the global health crisis, with Valve and ESL both committed to bringing the showpiece event to Rio de Janeiro once conditions have sufficiently improved.
ESL One: Rio was originally scheduled for May 11-24 in Rio de Janeiro before being postponed to November because of the coronavirus pandemic. It took the slot in the tournament calendar that was held by the second Counter-Strike Major of the year, with the prize pool bumped to a record $2 million.
"While Valve is currently not able to say when and how Majors will return, as soon as they do we'll work to bring the Major to Rio," ESL said in a statement. "New dates will be announced once a return for an in-arena Major is safe for everyone involved."
In a blog post, Valve stated that it will hold off on scheduling Majors until it is safe to host Regional Major Ranking (RMR) events on LAN again. Until then, the game developer added, these events — which are part of the new Major qualification system introduced by Valve in 2020 — will continue to be played online "to keep track of the best teams in each region."
All tickets purchased for the 2020 Major will be valid for the new dates, whenever the event will be held. Ticket-holders can also request a refund directly through their Eventbrite account.
The ESL One: Rio Major adds to the list of events that have either been cancelled or moved online because of the pandemic. It will be replaced in the tournament calendar by IEM Beijing-Haidian, an online tournament covering four regions with $250,000 in prize money.
This means that 2020 will be the first year without a Counter-Strike Major since 2013, when Valve decided to support the competitive scene by partnering with tournament organisers. After a successful first experiment at DreamHack Winter, at the end of 2013, Valve hosted three Majors in each of the following two years. Between 2016 and 2019, the number of Majors was reduced to two per year, though there was a significant increase in prize money to $1 million, up from $250,000.