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Riot Games to hold MSI 2022 in Busan with live audience

Riot Games announced Tuesday that the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) 2022 would be held from May 10 to 29 in Busan, South Korea. This will be the first League of Legends international event held in the country since 2018 as well as South Korea’s first time hosting an MSI.

Previously, there were rumours that the event would be cancelled over the fear of COVID-19. Riot, however, not only confirmed that the event would be held but it would also host a live audience, the first event of that kind to do so since Worlds 2019. The fans are expected to be hosted at Busan’s Exhibition and Convention Center (BEXCO).

MSI 2022 format

It was also confirmed that the format for MSI 2022 would be the same as that of the previous year. It will have a group stage, rumble stage, and knockout stage. Due to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. the LCL is not expected to participate in the event, meaning that one of the four groups will be short of one team.

The first phase of the tournament is expected to be held from May 10 to May 15. Then, the top four teams will qualify for the playoffs from May 27 to 29. The latter will run on a best-of-five format.

“Busan is the Mecca of esports,” said Busan mayor Park Heong-joon, adding that the city had hosted “some of the most important esports tournaments in the world”.

“The city of Busan has joined forces with the gaming industry to create export professionals, as well as a dedicated arena, the BRENA (Busan e-Sports Arena). Take the time to visit Busan City during MSI 2022 as we look forward to welcoming you in person,” Park said in a statement.

“South Korea has been one of the forerunners in the export industry for decades,” LoL Esports global chief Naz Aletaha added. “We are thrilled to honor this country’s heritage in esports, to celebrate the passion of Korean fans, and to bring all the talent of MSI pro teams to Korea for the first time. Busan was an incredible setting for the 2014 and 2018 Worlds, and we can’t wait to go back to see the challenge between the best League of Legends teams in the world.”

Last year’s MSI was held in Reykjavík, Iceland which is also expected to host the VALORANT Champions Tour 2021: Stage 2 Master in April. Sadly, EMEA’s newly crowned winner FunPlus Phoenix is not allowed to fly there and will be replaced by Team Liquid. It was announced that FunPlus Phoenix was disqualified due to travel restrictions in Ukraine and Russia as well as Iceland’s COVID-19 regulations.

“Travel restrictions in Ukraine and Russia, as well as existing COVID-19 regulations, continue to create numerous challenges for international travel,” Riot announced on social media. “Over the past few weeks, our events, competitive operations, and mobility teams worked to find solutions to ensure the FunPlus Phoenix roster could attend Masters Reykjavík.

“Unfortunately, and through no fault of their own, FunPlus Phoenix will not be able to field a complete roster in Reykjavík.”