League of Legends and Teamfight Tactics join the Esports World Cup

Image credit: Esports World Cup Foundation

Game developer and esports tournament organiser Riot Games has announced that League of Legends and Teamfight Tactics will join the Esports World Cup this summer.

The company noted that while organisations from League of Legends and TFT will be allowed to participate in the multi-title Saudi government-backed event, it will not be an official LoL Esports event and Riot Games will not be involved in its production.

ESI London 2024

In addition, Riot Games will not select the participating teams. The company, however, did make space in its competitive calendars to allow the teams adequate time to prepare and participate in the World Cup.

Alongside announcing the inclusion of TFT and League of Legends in the Esports World Cup, Riot Games also revealed that Arabic localisation will be included in League of Legends. Moreover, new servers in the Middle East for the company’s games will be launched in 2024. The company first announced its aim to localise League of Legends in the region back in 2019.

Riot Games shared that there are ‘a few reasons’ for allowing the teams to compete in the World Cup. The first is the scale of the tournament, which now includes more than 20 games. Riot said that cross-game, cross-genre esports events ‘are unique moments for fans of all types’. In addition, bringing top-level teams to the MENA region was another point brought up in the announcement.

Another reason for the inclusion of TFT and LoL is the financial benefits it provides teams. In the statement, Riot highlighted that it understands that many organisations are facing financial troubles and that the company did not want to deny the teams a chance to participate in a ‘major economic and brand-building opportunity’.

An excerpt of Riot Games announcement reads: “The EWC offers not only the chance to compete on an international stage but also the ability to earn a piece of a meaningful prize pool, which helps enhance financial stability.  The community has been asking for more international play, and this event is part of a broader strategy to allow for additional high-impact tournaments to the esports calendar.”

The Esports World Cup is set to take place over the Summer in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and will replace the Gamers8 festival. The World Cup will have substantial prize pools for all games and will feature Overwatch 2, EA FC, Street Fighter, Tekken, PUBG Mobile, MLBB, Free Fire, CS2, Dota 2 and many other tournaments.

Despite this being the first time League of Legends has been announced as a highlighted title in Saudi Arabia’s multi-title event, the game was featured at last year’s Gamers8 in 2023 as a smaller ERL tournament.

It should also be noted that Riot Games also came under criticism from its viewers and fans in 2020 after announcing NEOM, a Saudi Arabian mega project, as the official partner for the LEC Summer Split. The deal was later cancelled due to backlash from fans.

Ivan Šimić
Ivan comes from Croatia, loves weird simulator games, and is terrible at playing anything else. Spent 5 years writing about tech and esports in Croatia, and is now doing it here.