Riot Games announces return of MSI in 2021 with Verizon as sponsor

02 March 2021


Riot Games has announced that after a one-year hiatus, due to COVID-19, League of Legends’ Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) will be held in Reykjavík, Iceland in 2021 with a new format.

In addition, Verizon has been named the official 5G sponsor of the publisher’s League of Legends and VALORANT global events. Previously, the telecommunications giant had sponsored individual tournaments or series.

League of Legends MSI
Image credit: Riot Games

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The games are expected to be played from May 6th-22nd at the Laugardalshöll indoor sporting arena, with the publisher revealing that the event will not feature a live audience. According to Riot Games, teams will quarantine upon arrival in Iceland.

MSI 2021 will also utilise a new format that eliminates Play-Ins. Previously, Play-Ins was used for low ranking teams to enter into the group stage. This time, all teams from all regions will start off in the same stage.

Nevertheless, Riot has revealed that MSI will have three stages. The first will split 12 teams into groups of four. Each group will play a best-of-one, double round-robin. The top two teams per group will advance.

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Stage two will pit the six remaining teams against one another in another best-of-one, double round-robin. The top four teams will advance to the playoff bracket. In stage three, the top four teams will advance to a single-elimination, best-of-five playoff bracket, consisting of the semifinals followed by the finals.

The unveiling of MSI 2021 also saw Riot announce that Verizon has extended its partnership to include all global tournaments in League of Legends and VALORANT. According to the release, the partnership will be focused on 5G connectivity.

Previously, Verizon had sponsored the LCS, VALORANT: First Strike North America, and the first Wild Rift esports event. Additional terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

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Esports Insider says: It’s nice to see continued hints of ‘normalcy’ in League of Legends’ competitive circuit, although it may be a while before audiences can watch in-person. Hopefully, getting a change of scenery will be a welcome boost to many teams competing in the event.