League of Legends in esports

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2016 Summer NA LCS playoff stage.jpg
A League of Legends match at the 2016 Summer North American League Championship Series
Highest governing bodyRiot Games
First played2009
Typevideo game, eSports
Equipmentcomputer, mouse, keyboard, headphones

League of Legends competition involves professional gamers of the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game, League of Legends, first published in 2009 by Riot Games, but regularly patched, including a complete graphical overhaul of the main map in 2014.

Professional tournaments began in 2011 with the Season 1 World Championship at DreamHack in Jönköping, Sweden. The latest tournament is the 2020 World Championship.


League of Legends is one of the largest esports with various annual tournaments taking place worldwide.[1] In terms of esports professional gaming as of June 2016, League of Legends has had $29,203,916 USD in prize money, 4,083 Players, and 1,718 tournaments, compared to Dota 2's $64,397,286 USD of prize money, 1,495 players, and 613 tournaments.[2]

World Championship[edit]

Seasons 1–3[edit]

The Season 1 World Championship was held at DreamHack in Sweden in June 2011 and had US$100,000 in prizes. The European team Fnatic defeated teams from Europe, the USA, and Southeast Asia to win the tournament and received US$50,000 in prize money.[3] Over 1.6 million viewers watched the streamed broadcast of the event, with a peak of over 210,000 simultaneous viewers in one semi-final match.[4] After Season 1, Riot announced that US$5,000,000 would be paid out over Season 2. Of this amount, $2 million was to go to Riot's partners, including the IPL and other major esports associations. Another $2 million was to go to Riot's Season 2 qualifiers and championship. The final $1 million was to go to small organizers who apply to Riot to host League of Legends tournaments.[5]

After a series of network issues during the Season 2 World Playoffs that led to several matches being delayed, Riot revealed on October 13, 2012, that a special LAN-based client had been quickly developed, designed for use in tournament environments where the effects of lag and other network issues can be detrimental to the proper organization of an event. The LAN client was deployed for the first time during the first quarter-final and semi-final matches played following the rescheduled matches, and was in use during the finals.[6] On October 13, 2012, the Taipei Assassins (TPA) of Taiwan triumphed over Azubu Frost of South Korea in the Finals of Season 2 World Championship with a score of 3 to 1, and claimed the $1 million in prize money.[7]

In October 2013, Korean team SK Telecom T1 and Chinese team Royal Club competed at the Season 3 World Championship at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. SK Telecom T1 won the grand prize of $1 million, and Royal Club received $250,000.[8]

On July 11, 2013, Riot Games announced that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services recognized League of Legends pro-players as professional athletes and that the P visa application process would be more simplified for them.[9] These changes allowed professional players to stay in the United States for up to five years.[10] Despite these reforms, there have still been a number of visa problems that have occurred for players in the LCS and other LoL tournaments entering the United States.[11][12]


Silversmith Thomas Lyte was asked to craft the winner trophy for the 2014 games, having already created the Season Two World Championship Cup in 2012. Riot Games, which owns League of Legends, commissioned the Summoner’s Cup and specified that it should weigh 70 pounds. However, the weight was later reduced as it was too heavy to be lifted in victory.[13]

The 2013 tournament had a grand prize of $1 million and attracted 32 million viewers online.[14] The 2014 and 2015 tournaments each gave out one of the largest total prize pools in esports history, at $2.3 million.[15][16] The 2016 World Championship's total prize pool was over $5 million, with over $2 million going over to the winner of the tournament. In October 2015, SK Telecom T1 became the first-ever two-time World Champion when they defeated fellow Korean team KOO Tigers with a score of 3 to 1 in the best-of-five finals in Berlin, Germany.[17][18] SK Telecom T1 repeated their feat in October 2016, defeating fellow Korean team Samsung Galaxy 3-2 in the Season 6 World Championship. The 2016 tournament was also notable for introducing "Fan contributions" to the prize pool; a certain percentage of purchases from Riot's store over the preceding months of the tournament went to increasing the prizes for the 16 competing teams in the tournament.[19]


The 2017[20] tournament, hosted in China, also grew a considerable prize pool of roughly $5 million. Riot once again in 2017 decided to take profits from skin sales to increase the prize pool. The initial pool was $2 million and 250 thousand dollars, however, Championship Ashe, the new championship skin for 2017, sold well. 25% of Championship Ashe and ward sales allowed the prize pool to grow. 24 teams battled until only SK TelecomT1[21] and Samsung Galaxy[22] were the last 2 teams standing. Samsung Galaxy won dominantly with a 3-0 against SK TelecomT1 in The National Stadium(Birds Nest) in Beijing, allowing Samsung Galaxy to take home the 1st place prize pool of $1.8 million. The 2018[23] tournament, hosted in South Korea, was the chance for Riot to continue to exceed expectations. Riot, as was tradition now, took 12.5% of Championship Kha'Zix and ward sales to increase the prize pool. The other 12.5% was decided to be divided among all participating teams of the tournament. The prize pool rose compared from last year's $5 million to roughly $6.5 million. The finals were held in The Munhak Stadium in Incheon, where Fnatic[24] faced off against Invictus Gaming.[25] Invictus Gaming would go on to 3-0 sweep Fnatic to take home the 1st place prize pool of $2.4 million. Invictus Gaming would make history for themselves, for this was not only their first World Championship win, but also the first Chinese team to win a World Championship. The 2019[26] tournament, hosted in Europe, lead to another clean sweep match. Newer team, created in 2017, FunPlus Phoenix[27] faced off and took a 3-0 victory from the well known European team, G2 Esports[28] in AccorHotels Arena in Paris, France. The statistics for all sources of income besides the guaranteed prize of $2 million and 250 thousand dollars is unavailable, however, FunPlus Phoenix did win roughly 800 thousand dollars from that part of the prize pool.

The 2020[29] tournament began on September 25, taking place in China. It has now been decided to hold the finals in Shanghai Stadium in Shanghai on October 31. The audience will get free tickets through the lottery draw.

Mid-Season Invitational[edit]

The Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) is an annual League of Legends tournament hosted by publisher Riot Games since 2015. It is the second most important international League of Legends tournament aside from the World Championship.[30][31]

The Championship Series[edit]

On February 7, 2013, Riot Games made the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) in Europe and North America. This is a league system where ten teams compete to stay in the league. A season consists of two splits, each split separated into a regular season and a playoff. The top three teams from each continent advance to the world championships.

Regional leagues[edit]

In late 2018, the European League of Legends Championship Series (EU LCS) was renamed to the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) and the North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS) dropped "North American" from its name.[32] Equivalent leagues, independent of Riot, also exist some other regions such as the Pro League (LPL) in China and Champions Korea (LCK) in South Korea, as well as the Pacific Championship Series (PCS) in Asia, the Vietnam Championship Series (VCS), the Campeonato Brasileiro (CBLoL) in Brazil, the Continental League (LCL) which includes Russia, the Japan League (LJL), and the Liga Latinoamérica (LLA) of Latin America. Additional leagues are the Turkish Championship League (TCL) and the Oceanic Pro League (OPL) (disbanded in 2020).


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  2. ^ "How Videogames Became a Sport, and Why They're Here to Stay (Hint: Money!)". Techvibes.
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  10. ^ "Forms". Uscis.gov. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  11. ^ "Marcel 'dexter1' Feldkamp's Visa cancelled, CLG left without a starting jungler". Archived from the original on 2015-05-02. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
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  13. ^ "Behind League of Legends, E-Sports's Main Attraction". The New York Times. October 12, 2014 – via New York Times.
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  15. ^ "League of Legends 2014 World Championships". E-Sports Earnings. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  16. ^ "Top 100 Largest Overall Prize Pools". E-Sports Earnings. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  17. ^ "SKT rises above KOO Tigers 3-1 to become the 2015 World Champion". Riot Games. October 31, 2015. Archived from the original on November 9, 2015. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  18. ^ Philip Kollar. "SK Telecom T1 becomes first two-time League of Legends world championship team". Polygon.
  19. ^ Riot Magus; Riot Bradmore (28 October 2016). "Update: Fan Contributions to Worlds Prize Pool". League of Legends. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  20. ^ "World Championship 2017". Gamepedia. Fandom. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  21. ^ "SK TelecomT1". Gamepedia. Fandom. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  22. ^ "Samsung Galaxy". Gamepedia. Fandom. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  23. ^ "World Championship 2018". Gamepedia. Fandom. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  24. ^ "Fnatic". Gamepedia. Fandom. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  25. ^ "Invictus Gaming". Gamepedia. Fandom. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  26. ^ "World Championship 2019". Gamepedia. Fandom. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  27. ^ "FunPlus Phoenix". Gamepedia. Fandom. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  28. ^ "G2 Esports". Gamepedia. Fandom. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  29. ^ "World Championship 2020". Gamepedia. Fandom. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  30. ^ Erzberger, Tyler (May 2, 2016). "The Mid-Season Invitational Power Rankings". ESPN. ESPN Inc. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
  31. ^ Lingle, Samuel (May 4, 2016). "League Midseason Invitational day one recap". The Daily Dot. Archived from the original on October 10, 2016. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
  32. ^ Goslin, Austen (December 13, 2018). "The NA LCS is changing its name and returning on Jan. 26 2019". The Rift Herald. Retrieved December 14, 2018.

External links[edit]