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Since the Coronavirus outbreak began, things have become increasingly worse for tournament organizers and events around the world. That's because the new Coronavirus COVID-19 has been infecting people around the globe, spreading easily from person-to-person.
On January 30, 2020, the outbreak was declared a "public health emergency of international concern" by the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO). There are presently 162,600 confirmed cases across the globe and over 5,800 deaths. The United States currently accounts for at least 3,244 cases and 61 deaths.
Putting the health of fans, players, and staff first has been the primary objective of these canceled events, with the organizers playing their part in preventing its spread. However, events that took place within the past couple of weeks put in precautions of their own, including CEO Dreamland.
Yet, the Fighting Game Community might be worse off than other esports considering most of its events are the result of low budgets, community support, and very little sponsorship. Event organizers that had to cancel their tournaments have offered refunds, but in many cases, there are expenses that they can't recover, like merchandise and, in some cases, even venue. This development means many of these events will have operated at a loss this year. Even events that are still going ahead are also at risk.
On March 11, US President Donald Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation that prevents foreign nationals that have recently visited any of the 26 countries in the Schengen Area from gaining entry into the US. This led to even more cancelations and the suspension of several tournament circuits, including the Smash World Tour.
As a result of this development, CEO Dreamland was removed from the World Tour and would no longer provide points to winners. Players from around the world could either no longer secure visas to attend or were now sufficiently conscious of their health to forfeit the event. Many locals also chose to skip the event as well.
Caught between a rock and a hard place, Community Effort Orlando's Alex Jebailey took to Twitter to ask the FGC for donations to keep the company afloat following the dire situation the Coronavirus has put its finances. Thankfully, the community has rallied behind him and even other TOs as well.
In Eleven years of event hosting I've never had to do this.— Alex Jebailey (@Jebailey) March 12, 2020
Since everything for #CEODreamland was ordered to make the event great already before a ton of COVID-19 refunds started to come in.
We've set up https://t.co/BABW0rWufy to help support CEO this year if you wish to.
UYU Super Smash Bros. Melee player Edgard "n0ne" Sheleby was among the many players that still managed to attend CEO Dreamland 2020, and his efforts rewarded him with a third-place finish in Smash Melee's Singles and Doubles events. However, the Nicaraguan-Canadian player chose to forfeit is prize money in a show of support for Jebailey and CEO. Although his Smash Melee Singles prize was only $266.50, every bit helps, and his gesture has encouraged other fans and players to make contributions of their own to keep CEO alive.
n0ne wasn't the only winner at the event kind enough to do so though, as Shintaro "Kuro" Kakihara donated his Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Doubles prize, calling his attendance of CEO Dreamland part of his graduation trip. Smash Ultimate Singles first-place winner, Ezra "Samsora" Morris of eUnited, also donated a fraction of his winnings to help CEO.
I donate all my prize of doubles to @CEOGaming— クロ/Kuro⚫️ (@_kuro258) March 16, 2020
I attend CEODreamland as a graduation trip and it was so much fun !!
Thank you for all who talked to me or played smash together !!
I hope to meet you again😊😊
Most fighting game tournaments are run at a deficit, relying on player fees, merchandise, and entry tickets, but CEO lost hundreds of attendees, making it even harder. Yet, with the support of the FGC, Jebailey and the CEO team were able to pull off another great event. In a Twitter post, the tournament organizer and his team thanked everyone for their assistance.
I don’t know what lies ahead in the coming weeks but from the very bottom of my fighting game loving heart, thank you.— Alex Jebailey (@Jebailey) March 15, 2020
Here’s a message of what’s next for @CEOGaming because of everyone’s help. Please watch until the end. pic.twitter.com/qy84k8vPlb
This year with the continued spread of the Coronavirus, several TOs find themselves in dire straits, so once more, it's time for the fans to do what we do best. Band together and support the FGC in any way we can, even if it means no more events for a long while.