League of Legends, the title developed and published by Riot Games, is one of six esports titles that are set to be debuted at the 2018 Asian Games as an Official Demonstration Sport.
The Asian Games is a multi-sport event that’s held every four years, much like the Olympics, but only for Asian athletes. It’s recognised by the International Olympic Committee as the second largest event of its kind, only behind the Olympics.
Riot Games will be supporting the event by advising the Olympic Council of Asia, and its member nations, during the selection process for competitors and with the format of the tournament.
Jarred Kennedy, Co-Head of Esports, Head of Merchandise and Licensing at Riot Games stated: “We’re honoured that League of Legends was selected for the Asian Games. Representing one’s country at the Olympics is a dream for athletes around the world, and with this step, that dream is one step closer to reality for the best in our sport. We admire and respect the values of the Olympic movement and look forward to supporting the Olympic Council of Asia in making this competition a success.”
Held in Jakarta-Palembang, Indonesia, the League of Legends final round will be held in the latter part of August. The Asian Games spans from August 18th to September 2nd. There will be five Asian Games Regional Qualifiers leading up to the tournament in June, with 45 nations and regions taking part. Eight teams will remain once the qualifiers are over, and they will compete at the main event.
The host nation, Indonesia, will automatically be invited to the games. Other regions – South East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, and West Asia – will each have their own qualifiers. The announcement explains that “due to the highly competitive nature” of East Asia, the top three teams from that particular region will receive invitations, too.
Riot Games will consult with National Olympic Committees to offer guidance on the most suitable method of assembling teams, it’s stated that “countries will utilize a variety of unique methods to build their representative teams.”
Back in April 2017, Esports Insider’s very own, Sam Cooke, had his say on what would feature at an Olympic event: “This event is naturally geared towards an Asian audience first and foremost so we can presume that League and Dota will definitely play a part, but then this goes against Jace Hall’s point that only titles that are easy to understand for the uninitiated masses should feature in such competitions. “
Esports Insider says: Esports making it to the Olympics has been an appointed milestone for quite some time, and being included in the Asian Games is a big step in that direction. Hopefully, all runs smoothly with the support of Riot Games because success at this event could be a significant propellant.