Riot Games have just opened the application submission process for League of Legends esports partnerships for the Oceania region.

Two options are available:

  • Purchasing a slot in the OPL for 2019
  • Running a State High School tournament

Riot Games has seen many from the sports business world invest in esports in the past 2 years, want to learn more?

Listen to these episodes of Sports Geek podcast to understand the opportunity esports can offer sports business and vice versa.

Dave Harris – Dire Wolves – #203

Learn how Dave Harris brought his vast sports business experience to the world of esports with the Dire Wolves which has resulted in taking out the OPL title at the Melbourne Esports Open.

Nigel Smart – Adelaide Football Club & Legacy – #153

Nigel Smart from the Adelaide Crows details why they became the first professional sports team in Australia to invest in esports.

Daniel Ringland – Riot Games – #164

With growing interest from sports business in esports Daniel Ringland outlines what Riot looks for in potential partners.

Darren Birch – AFL – #174

Darren Birch discusses why AFL invested in esports to run the League of Origin event in November.

Other esports podcasts you might enjoy include Cayle Drabinksy from Bucks Gaming and Brendan Donohue from NBA 2k League.

Why now?

The OCS side Chiefs Academy defeated OPL side Tectonic in the final match of the OPL promotion/relegation series. Under normal circumstances this would result in their promotion to the OPL. However, as an organisation is only able to enter one team at a given competition level, Chiefs Academy aren’t eligible to claim a spot in the OPL.

From Riot Games release, “All applicants are screened to make sure that they’re capable of running either a successful OPL team or a High School State League. Both require motivation, resources and organisation. However, we know that there are many companies out there that are excited by the prospect of getting involved and we can’t wait to work with them. The right strategy will mean that all of our partners can come together and not only benefit themselves, but the whole esports ecosystem.”

What is Riot Games looking for?

The aim of this process is to find partners who will:

  • Share in the long term vision and values of the League of Legends esports ecosystem.
  • Have the motivation, ability and resources to operate a successful OPL team and/or High School league.
  • Add value across the entire esports ecosystem, while also meeting their business objectives.
  • Elevate the entire League of Legends esports ecosystem, now and in the future.

League of Legends is Australia’s largest esports league and ecosystem which is comprised of:

  • A professional season which runs from January to September each year.
  • International progression to the world's largest esports tournament.
  • An annual stadium Grand Final in Melbourne, in partnership with Visit Victoria.
  • State level high school tournaments (which applicants can also apply to operate).
  • A representative fixture (League of Legends: League of Origin) which is operated in partnership with the AFL.
  • A University league, in partnership with Unisport Australia.

How to Apply

For organisations interested in getting involved in the OPL 2019 season and running a State High School tournament (they can apply for both or either), they simply need to get in touch with Riot Games at [email protected] for more information. Initial expressions of interest close September 24.   Applicants will need to be able to demonstrate their ability to add significant value to the League of Legends esports ecosystem and elevate the league and its stakeholders above the level achieved to date.

Sports Geek's Take

Esports continues to fascinate “traditional” sports business executives.  Many of them were in attendance at the inaugural Melbourne Esports Open with fans flocking to watch Overwatch and League of Legends grand finals.   It was a big discussion point in the Sports Geek Nation Slack #esports channel.

As Nigel Smart and Darren Birch pointed out on the Sports Geek podcast esports gives traditional sports an opportunity to engage a completely different audience both in demographics and geography.  It is not about recruiting fans from traditional sports like AFL, NRL or NBA to esports but being able to extend the fan base you can connect with via esports which opens up revenue opportunities via that new audience.  Tradition sports business can provide infrastructure and methods to engage fans around membership and merchandise that esports is well-placed to leverage with a highly engaged digital fanbase.

I think OPL presents a terrific opportunity for sports organisations to work with a global player in esports space in Riot Games.

If you'd like to discuss more about esports and this opportunity in the OPL, please book a time to chat with Sean Callanan.

Sports can juggle sports & esports to win - Sean Callanan