On Thursday, September 29th, the mega-juggernaut MOBA that is League of Legends (aka LoL) will descend upon San Francisco. This year, Riot Games is starting off their annual World Championships (aka “Worlds”) in the city by the Bay. Sixteen teams from different corners of the globe will converge and duke it out to decide who is best.
The format is very much the same as the World Cup. There are four groups of four and each team will face the rest of their group twice over the course of two weekends (the Group Stage). The top two teams from each group will then advance to the next round (the Knockout Stage), where it’s a best-of-5 single elimination. Once the Knockout Stage begins, Worlds will move on to Chicago, then New York, and finally land in Los Angeles for the Finals on October 29th.
Heavy favorites for this tournament are South Korea’s SK Telecom T1 and ROX Tigers. Other teams expected to make a splash are North America’s Team SoloMid (aka TSM) & Cloud9, as well as Europe’s H2k-Gaming.
In the realm of esports, Worlds is one of the biggest events held during the year. Last year’s championships (at one point) had an average concurrent viewership of 4.2 million with the average fan watching for over an hour at a time. League of Legends (and esports in general) is rapidly building itself up to be a major player in the competitive entertainment landscape. LoL teams have rabid fan bases that follow them wherever they go… they buy the jerseys & team associated merchandise, and they even dress up (“cosplay”) as their favorite characters from the game.
Combine all of that with a prize pool over $2 million dollars and this year’s Worlds is shaping up to be the biggest one in its 5 year history. It wouldn’t be surprising to see traditional media start to take notice, and you can take it all in on the live stream on Twitch.Source: League of Legends