The Esports World Cup is shaking things up by hosting a League of Legends tournament in 2024, and it’s sending shockwaves through the gaming universe. Developer Riot Games, known for keeping a tight grip on their events, seems to be loosening the reins. But is it a sign of them chilling out or something more mysterious going on behind the scenes?
League of Legends Unleashes in Riyadh
Hold on to your gaming gear because the Esports World Cup is revamping the Gamers8 tournament, bringing a $45 million prize pool to the table. And guess what? For the first time ever, League of Legends is stepping onto the stage! A sneak peek into an email from Chris Greeley, LoL Esports global head of strategy, spilled the beans, urging regional teams to clear their schedules for the first week of July. It’s like the hottest ticket in town.
Riot Games had been the sole mastermind behind international LoL events since pulling the plug on ESL-run Intel Extreme Masters tournaments in 2017. This move opens the door to third-party events, promising a fresh vibe, possibly better tournaments, and more moolah for the teams.
Game On: Saudi Influence and a New Era
Hold up – who’s the puppet master behind this grand move? Enter the Saudi state and its gaming subsidiary, Savvy Games Group. The Esports World Cup, getting the nod for hosting LoL, signals a turning point. The Saudis are playing a game of chess in the esports industry, making strategic moves to buy and control key players.
Remember the LEC sponsorship drama with NEOM in 2020? Yeah, Riot took a step back then, but fast forward to today, and the script has flipped. The Saudis, hungry for revenue, have become a savior for the esports and NIAGASLOT community. Some see this as part of a sportswashing campaign, where Saudi Arabia aims to shine in the esports spotlight and improve its public image.
The Saudi Playbook: A New Chapter in Esports
Look at the case of Newcastle United – a football club now owned by the Saudis. Fans were over the moon, celebrating the takeover with traditional headdresses. In the esports realm, influencer campaigns are doing their magic. Legendary Call of Duty player Scump is all in for the Esports World Cup, and OpTic Gaming CEO H3CZ has some surprisingly positive words for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The Saudi esports takeover has hit a major milestone – the Esports World Cup featuring League of Legends. Brace yourselves for a wave of organizations trying to hop on the Savvy Games Group’s bandwagon.
Moral Crossroads: Where Do We Stand?
As the esports world evolves, so do the moral dilemmas. Back in 2020, voices spoke out against the Saudi involvement. But now, with the most lucrative event on the horizon, will those voices take a backseat for a payday? The industry’s moral compass is being put to the test. And then, it’ll be fascinating to see who stands firm and who follows the scent of that sweet Saudi cash.
Get ready for a showdown, esports and League of Legends enthusiasts! The game is changing, and the Esports World Cup is just the beginning of a new chapter in the Saudi esports saga. Will the allure of riches overshadow principles? Stay tuned, and let the esports drama unfold!