This year’s League of Legends The Championship Series (LCS) final is the latest esport event to welcome the audience in person. Riot Games announced Friday that the final two matches of the LCS Championship, the league’s post-summer season tournament, will be held at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, on August 28 and 29, and fans can attend the event.
During the pandemic, the league moved to a completely virtual format where players competed online and the bikes commented remotely. It has progressed slowly towards a return to the fans. The final two matches of the April Midseason Showdown brought players and production crews to the stage at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, but the audience was not present. LCS matches for Summer Split have been held in LCS studios, but like in the Midseason Showdown, fans have been gone.
With vaccine adoption accelerating across the United States in 2021, the league realized they could really be able to host LCS championships in a venue with a live audience, Chris Greeley, LCS commissioner for North American and Oceanian exports at Riot Games, said in an interview Limit. “We spent a lot of time talking to the people at the Prudential Center who also spoke to the state of New Jersey to get an idea of what the regulations look like and what the evolving health care standards look like. We got to the point where we all looked around and said, ‘Oh my God, I think we can do this . “”
If you want to participate in the LCS Championships, the league recommends that you be vaccinated against COVID-19 before you participate, and says, “We will send more detailed information about the health and safety protocol to the Prudential Center as we approach the event.”
I asked Greeley if there were contingency plans for the worst case scenario. “There’s no pandemic playbook, so it’s hard to start putting these contingency plans in place because the variables aren’t known,” he says. “It’s not,‘ Okay, well, if X happens, we’ll do Y, ’because you just don’t know. ability to move and turn. “
Greeley looks optimistic that live events will continue in 2022, and teases that LCS already has seats selected for next year’s Midseason Showdown and LCS Championship. And he reminded me League of Legends The World Championship is scheduled to take place In North America in 2022, six years after the previous championship was held in North America in 2016.
Some Chinese events have received fans earlier than LCS. Although most of last year’s matches League of Legends There was no personal audience at the Shanghai World Championships, more than 6,000 fans allowed to participate the last match of the tournament. And Overwatch The League (OWL) Shanghai Dragons only hosts an personal event on Friday.
Other organizations have reported this week news about esport events that fans can attend. Valve revealed that The International, one of the largest esport tournaments with a prize pool of more than $ 40 million, will now in Bucharest, Romania. Call of Duty League (CDL) announced the details Major V Tournament, which begins July 29 at Esports Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and information about the league championship weekend, which begins Aug. 19 at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, California.
Speaking of Esports Stadium in Arlington, the venue will host the first personal OWL event in North America on Friday in 2021. Dallas Fuel will play the match in front of a 50 percent audience, even as they compete online against their opponents Houston Outlaws, who are not present.
For CDL and OWL, returning to live games is important for teams because events are part of what they deserve. Unlike LCS, where all teams play in the same place during the regular season (when, of course, they don’t play remotely due to a pandemic), the CDL and OWL model is more like the NBA or NFL, where teams hosts events in the area where they are located.
Friday’s Dallas Fuel event isn’t an official OWL match, but there’s still a lot to be expected from bringing people together to watch esports live, Justin Rojas, VP of Fuel owner Envy Gaming, told me this week.
“I’m excited to see a bunch of people cheering again,” he says. “That’s why I do events. See the look on people’s faces when they are excited and enjoying what you have created and what is happening. When I see how it brings people together – no matter how difficult the event is and how much work you do – when you notice it, it always feels worth it. “