Riot Games has decided to alter its plans for the 2021 League of Legends World Championship in order to better serve the community (aka Worlds). The event was originally scheduled to take place in China for the second year in a row, but it has been moved to Europe due to travel difficulties caused by the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant.

John Needham, Riot’s global head of esports, said in a video that “We’ve reached a point where it’s extremely difficult to guarantee that qualifying teams and their best players will be able to attend Worlds this year. After carefully weighing all of our options, we determined that moving the World Championships to Europe would provide the best opportunity for the greatest number of teams and their best players to compete.”

Worlds 2021 was originally scheduled to take place in five cities across China, with the final event taking place in Shenzhen in November, after being originally scheduled for the United States in 2018. Riot hasn’t revealed where one of the biggest esports events of the year will take place in Europe, but Needham noted that accessibility for the greatest number of teams and their key players will be the most important factor to consider. During the coming days and weeks, Riot will provide additional information about Worlds 2021.

Riot Games announced earlier this month that the final matches of the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) — the esport’s North American league — would be moved from a New Jersey arena to the LCS Arena at the Los Angeles Convention Center. This, according to the company, is due to an increase in Delta variant cases, which means it “cannot in good conscience conduct a massive fan event at this time.”

Other esports continue to hold in-person events in North America, despite the economic downturn. The 2021 Call of Duty League season has just concluded, with the championship weekend taking place at the Galen Center in Los Angeles in front of a sold-out crowd. Earlier this month, the Overwatch League announced that the playoffs and grand finals would be held in Dallas and the same Los Angeles arena, respectively, marking the esport’s return to in-person competition in the United States.

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