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League of Legends
League of Legends

"We really want to step up the game so UK esports profits at all levels" - Interview with LVP's Sergi Mesonero and Riot UK's Mo Fadl

Riot Games recently announced they were partnering with Spanish organisation LVP to bring a new League of Legends tournament structure to the UK. The competition is called Forge of Champions and it's good news for everyone involved in UK League of Legends, with opportunities for both pro teams and amateurs to make their mark. We broke down the structure in detail in a previous article, but suffice to say the announcement is a positive development for UK esports. The benefits for players are obvious, but the tournament will also generate opportunities for a much wider spectrum of people across the esports community – casters, analysts, writers and video content-creators, to name a few. We spoke with Riot's Mo Fadl and LVP's Sergi Mesonero to figure out the main ways the UK scene stands to gain from their partnership.
GINX Esports TV: How do you see UK League of Legends developing in the next few years?

Sergi Mesonero: The aims have changed. It has changed from content for our core player base, to creating content which is appealing to a wider audience. This doesn't mean that we change all content, but have taken approaches that are relevant to different groups of players. It's more work for us, and for our partners as well, but in the past we created our esport based on esports fans. This is good, and important, and we still want to nurture them, but we had to ask ourselves how do we nurture the UK scene to become more mature in this field. Then we can offer quality content that is relevant to a majority of viewers. What are the main lessons you would take from running LVP in Spain, going in to launching this in the UK? S: The first one is that you won't make successful competition unless there's a solid base, in particular with the publisher, the tournament organiser and the teams. These three things must be aligned. You don't get the competition to be successful with just one or two of the branches doing their part. That was the biggest lesson in Spain. The other one is that you have to think out of the box. You have to think out of the box if you want to deliver something that people enjoy. If you do things by the rules, there's no way you can compete with the big guys out there. You have to deliver something that's very unique. You have to have a personality. You've said there wont just be opportunity for players, but for broadcast talent too. Will Riot be replacing the ESL talent entirely and bringing in new people? Mo Fadl: No, certainly not. Talent is talent. It's like a football club: talent can change a football club, can move on, can create whatever they want. That is the beautiful thing about talent. But our goal is to create an ecosystem which is not dependent on a few key pillars, which nourishes and flourishes talent of all sorts: pro players, team captains, editors, writers – I can only say how important they are. These are all talents which often are not nurtured or taken care of, but in the end will help the whole garden to blossom. This is something we learned we have to step up. Yes, the teams and players are our core, but this is something we have to establish and build, to allow new talent to step up everyday and find their spots. Esports is more than just pro players, but there is such a big infrastructure behind that no-one ever sees. S: Will we be working with ESL casters? Why not? We are open to work with anyone. As Mo said: talent is talent. These people are key to growing the next generation, and we're always looking for new people. If someone wants to get involved, how do they go about helping with this project? M: First we need to define the league, then the next step is the programme and the content we deliver, then we will start opening up through our social media channels. Most likely then, if you're a shoutcaster or create content and edit we'll create a process for you to apply and we'll get the best ones in. So you would say that this is great for UK esports content creators as a whole? M: Yes, 100%. Exactly. I hope that it's good for everybody, building the value for everybody in esports. We really want to step up the game so UK esports profits at all levels. We don't just want for the league to be as big as possible. We want the specialised media, the teams to get as big as possible. The UK scene has to grow. You see way more content created by independent people, very talented people, who should have a fair chance to step into the spotlight. S: Everything has to grow, not just one part of it, not just the league. Everything has to grow.