Riot creates first professional eSports league in Oceania
While professional eSports continues to grow in popularity around the world, Oceania has trailed behind other regions like Asia, North America and Europe. In fact, Oceania has never had a professional eSports league of its own. But that has now changed, thanks to League of Legends developer Riot Games. Read on for all the details.
In case you haven’t noticed, League of Legends is sort of a big deal. The first (and currently only) title developed by California based by Riot Games, League of Legends has grown to become one of the most played PC games in the world, with nearly 30 million people playing per day. The game has professional leagues all over the world, which culminate every year in a World Championship which pays out millions in prize money.
One region that has been missing from competition has been Oceania, but thanks to Riot Games, that is no longer the case. Oceania now has its own professional eSports league, known as the Oceania Professional League, or OPL. Starting this week, eight teams will compete over a seven week split for a total of $64,000 in prize money. Each player will also receive $100 for every match they play. The top five teams will move on to the International Wildcard Invitational in Turkey, where they will square off against teams from North America, Europe, China, Korean and Taiwan.
A second split, held between May and August, will crown a winning team that will move on the Wildcard Qualifier for a chance to compete in the World Championships.
Ben de Rider, eSports coordinator for Riot Games Oceania, is excited for the league’s future. “Our ultimate goal is to see an Oceanic team win at Worlds,” he explains. “We’re not on the same level as some of the larger regions yet, but you should never underestimate a bunch of Aussies and Kiwis.”
Draw 1, Round 1 was held last night, with Draw 2, Round 1 coming this Monday. You can watch the competition on its own Twitch TV channel.