League of Legends is going to be a part of the Asian Games 2018 as a demonstration sport. The Asian Games, a sports event held every 4 years is considered to be the 2nd largest sports event in the world by the International Olympic Committee, with only the Olympic Games surpassing it in size.
Riot’s co-head of esports Jarred Kennedy has said in a press release “We’re honored 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.”
Due to the format of the Asian Games, the qualification process is going to be very different than what we are used to from esports. Since the Asian Games are an international event players will be representing their country instead of a specific organization. 45 nations and regions were invited to enter the qualification round, and each have to field a team of 5 players. The qualifiers have been split up between multiple Asian regions, and the number 1 team of each region will enter the main event, except for the East Asian region, where the top 3 will enter. Indonesia will automatically enter the main event as they are the host of the Asian Games.
The Asian Games will start on August 18 and end on September 2. They are held in Jakarta-Palembang, Indonesia. The League final is said to take place somewhere in the end of August, but does not have a specific date yet. Riot has stated that they will help National Olympic Committees in understanding how to create a team of 5 players, as well as create the tournament format.
Being part of the Asian Games is an exciting opportunity for League of Legends and esports as a whole. It’s another opportunity for fans to see some of the best players in the world battle it out on the rift, but it’s also an opportunity to introduce esports to viewers around the world, who have never experienced it before.