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Asian Games 2018: A beacon for the future of League of Legends

Asian Games 2018: A beacon for the future of League of Legends

October 27 was a monumental date for professional League of Legends. The biggest esport title in the world was invited to host an international tournament at the 2018 Asian Games. This was a tremendous achievement both for Riot Games and esports, setting up a blueprint for future international competition. League of Legends was one of six esport titles to be included in the 2018 Asian Games, an event that was showcased globally whilst being the second largest international sporting event behind only the Olympics.

“We’re honoured that League of Legends was selected for the Asian Games. Representing one's country at the Olympics is a dream for athletes around the world, and with this step, that dream is one step closer to a reality for the best in our sport.” – Jarred Kennedy, Co-Head of Esports, Riot Games

The Asian Games were a success for competitive League of Legends, with fans from multiple countries coming together to celebrate an incredible achievement, not only for League of Legends but the entire esports scene. International tournaments offer a unique experience that is simply unattainable through domestic competition. Despite only having a limited amount of participants, a blueprint was outlined: Riot Games have the ability to create their own League of Legends World Cup. Players and coaches from across the industry coming together to represent their countries whilst carrying the torch that the Olympics brings. Hosting a League of Legends World Cup would be extremely beneficial for both the players and the countries. It would be great for the emerging regions, a platform for new talent to shine and to make a name for themselves. This statement remains to be true in professional football, with players earning themselves an opportunity to play for the best teams in the world simply by having a standout performance at the World Cup (such as James Rodriguez in 2014, who ended up playing for Real Madrid). James Rodriguez Colombia A World Cup would also bring exposure to the host, Japan being an example. Fans would get to experience the culture and the atmosphere Japan has to offer and, by having a successful tournament, fans from across the world can take an interest in the LJL - Japan’s competitive League.

How can we make this World Cup happen?

Hosting a tournament of the magnitude of a World Cup would not be feasible in the current calendar for Riot Games. However, with slight changes to the calendar, Riot would be able to host this prestigious tournament without impacting the domestic tournaments. They do not have to host a World Cup every season. FIFA hosts its World Cup every four years, and this is a format Riot can take inspiration from. A League of Legends World Cup could be held every two years with All-Stars taking place in between that time frame. This would add value to the tournament with players stepping up their game in the hopes of getting selected to represent their country. [caption id="attachment_106458" align="alignnone" width="600"]Team-Korea-Kespa-credited-300x204.jpg (Credit: Kespa) Team Korea at the Asian Games 2018[/caption] The three-month break between the completion of the World Championship and the start of the 2019 season is the perfect time to host the World Cup. The extended break allows players to rest and recharge before getting the honour to battle for their country on the Rift. Having a World Cup could bring competitive League of Legends to new heights. The 2018 Asian Games has set the precedent for what a solid international tournament could do for League, and a tournament involving all nations makes sense as the next step forward.