Competitive, professional computer gaming – or eSports, as it’s more commonly known – is currently one of the fastest growing global industries on the planet. By 2019, brand spending on eSports is set to reach $800m, which represents an 81% increase in the $440m spent over the course of this last year. Whilst Dota 2 currently holds the record with the biggest prize pool in eSports history ($20.8 million as of August 2017), it is still the League of Legends Championship series (LCS) that continues to attract the most attention, with the 2016 World Championship netting an incredible 60 million viewers – more than the 2016 NBA finals.
Released by Riot Games back in 2009, League of Legends is a multiplayer based online game, where players compete in matches which can last anywhere between the 20 and 60-minute mark. The main aim of the game is to destroy the enemies core building (also known as the Nexus) after overcoming various different turrets and other defensive structures. The LCS represents the highest possible level of play on both the American and European continents and consists of twenty different professional teams who compete in two separate leagues.
The seasons are split up into Spring and Summer series and conclude with play-off tournaments between the top six teams from each respective region. At the end of each season, the team who have accumulated the most championships points, the winners of the gauntlet tournament in each respective league, and the eventual winners of the Summer split, qualify for the League of Legends World Championship, which has been held on an annual basis since the league’s formation back in 2013.
One of the more interesting aspects of the LCS and eSports in general is the potential for viewers to take a punt on their favorite team. Whether you were backing the British team H2k-Gaming or the Spanish G2 eSports team (the eventual winners of the Summer Split and the €80,000 first prize), there’s plenty of documentation surrounding betting on eSports online should you want to spice up your viewing experience. Samsung Galaxy eventually took home the title of 2017 LCS World Champions, going one better than their second-place finish last year and once again proving that the Asian teams are setting the bar when it comes to competitive League of Legends gaming.
Source: League of Legends via Facebook
With the format of the LCS set to change in 2018, this could represent a chance for both the American and European LoL teams to seriously challenge the Asian domination which the competition has seen since the league’s inception in 2013. Indeed, many European League of Legend teams consider the playing style of the Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese to be the most abstract and ideal way of playing the game. In any case, this perfectly highlights the many different strategies and tactics that are employed by the various teams in an attempt to gain an advantage and goes to show that eSports is much more than just sitting on a chair and pushing a load of buttons.