Riot Games, the developer behind the wildly popular League of Legends, has announced plans to create a professional gaming league around its title. Starting next year, the company will host a League of Legends Championship Series. The series will host professional League of Legends teams from all over the world. HD streaming broadcasts of live regular-season matches will be aired weekly, leading up to a world championship match.
“Talking to players around the world, they repeatedly asked if we could kick League of Legends eSports into higher gear,” said Brandon Beck, co-founder and CEO of Riot Games. “The new League of Legends Championship Series is our answer. Millions of fans tune in every time we support a major League of Legends tournament, so we're broadening that support in an unprecedented way.”
The top 8 teams from North America, Europe, and Asia will compete in the Championship Series. The top three teams in the upcoming North American and European Regional competitions will "pre-qualify" for the new professional league. Championship Series teams will receive salaries and have a chance to win prize pools during competitions, which Riot Games states will enable players to make a career of eSports. The games in the series will be broadcast for free online.
Riot today also released a teaser trailer for its upcoming Championship Series:
Riot stated that in addition to the Championship Series, it will continue to support its Challenger Circuit, which is made up of events hosted by eSports leagues such as Major League Gaming (MLG) and the IGN Pro League (IPL). Teams competing in the Challenger Circuit will be vying for a chance to play in the Championship Series.
League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game featuring various "champions" that players use to defeat opposing champions and their minions while leveling up. Players win a match by destroying the "Nexus" (home base, if you will) of the opposing team. The game, released in 2009, has grown to become one of the most popular video games used for eSports.