The Future is Now
Season 3 in League of Legends is fast approaching. In fact, as of 20 minutes ago, ranked queues were shut down in preparation for the patch. The EU server qualifiers were last weekend. Teams are done.
You know, I find the interesting thing, the really compelling thing about League of Legends at the moment is the way they’re trying to bridge the divide between conventional and electronic sports. They’ve got a regular season schedule planned out, the way you would a hockey season. Each server bracket (NA and EU, who we might think of as conferences) has 8 teams playing against each other in single matches every Thursday and Friday for the North American server, and Saturday and Sunday for the Europeans. Teams are required to have subs, because they’re going to be playing for ten weeks straight. There’s going to be a midseason break, where each division’s lowest teams get pitted against rising non-professional teams from the ranked bracket, who you can be sure will be hungry for their spots. There will be salaries involved.
If you think that eSports is just a fad, we’re talking about millions of dollars in prize money, and more than that in advertising. These games are going to be streamed, HD, for free. There’ll be video on demand, we’re talking about the beginnings of an annual thing. MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL will have at least one more acronym to add to the list by the time season 3 is over, mark my words.
So get used to the future, gamers.