League of Legends might be among video games contested in future Olympics
Riot has confirmed that League of Legends is in talks of becoming an official event at multi-sport events in the future, including the Olympics. This marks a major step for both the game and esports as an industry.
League of Legends will become one of the eight esports titles that will debut at the 2022 Asian Games Hangzhou from September 10 to 25. Previously, the game already made its Asian Games debut in the esports demonstration event in 2018. The game was won by China, led by Jian “Uzi” Zhao, who prevailed over South Korea, led by Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok.
Other featured titles in the games include Area of Valor Asian Games Version, Dota 2, Dream Three Kingdoms 2, EA SPORTS FIFA, HearthStone, PUBG Mobile, and Street Fighter V.
“The inclusion of League of Legends as a medal event in the 2022 Asian Games is a major development for the region and furthers the potential for participation in future multi-sport opportunities,” said Global Head of League of Legends Esports Naz Aletaha to Dexerto.
Will esports be a part of the Olympics?
Riot’s discussion with the International Olympics Committee (IOC) — although still in its early phase — may lead esports as a whole to be formally recognized as a sport by the committee.
Before every Olympics, the IOC reviews each Olympic sport, adding and removing sports as necessary. So far, two factors put League of Legends in strong favor: a strong showcase at the Asian Games and the trend of debuting less traditional sports.
Surfing and skateboarding were added in Tokyo 2020. Then, Paris 2024 will see breakdancing debuting at the event. The earliest Olympics where esports can debut might be Los Angeles 2028.
However, Aleteha stressed that at the end of the day, the ultimate decision lies with the IOC, and there is still no guarantee if the game will ever be contested in the competition.
Catching up with League of Legends
The 2021 League of Legends World has just come to a close. From crafty, mechanical outplays to surgical multi-kills, it showcased some of the best players of the game.
The tournament featured the top players from all 12 professional regions across the globe, currently consisting of South Korea, North America, Europe, China, Pacific, Vietnam, Brazil, Oceania, Commonwealth of Independent States, Japan, Latin America, and Turkey.
This year, the Shanghai-based Edward Gaming (EDG) team emerged as the champion after defeating the defending champion South Korea DK team. Nearly 500 million viewers stayed tuned to watch the competition. The match ended tight with a score of 3-2.
Aside from World Championship, Riot Games also recently released Arcane, their new animated series on Netflix. The show celebrated League of Legends, with familiar faces from the long-running game franchise featured. According to the TV charts website FlixPatrol, the series debuted at #1 in 38 countries, overthrowing Squid Game.