League of Legends

Riot Games reveal LoL World Cup plans and decision on double elimination

by Andy Williams

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Following a record-breaking LoL Worlds 2019 campaign, Riot Games have dropped hints at potentially integrating a World Cup into the competitive calendar, alongside discussing the controversial tournament format after a blowout final between G2 Esports and FunPlus Phoenix.

Worlds 2019 brought an esports-wide spectacle that was lapped up by fans from far and wide, with the Grand Final almost doubling last year’s concurrent viewers and shattering previous esports viewership records. 

Following the Chinese team’s dominant victory over top LEC outfit, G2 Esports, fans around the world were excited to hear that next year’s World Championship series will conclude in Shanghai — seeing a welcomed return of LoL to The Middle Kingdom.

LoL Esports
LoL Esports
FunPlus Phoenix swept European outfit, G2 Esports, 3-0.

However, the more topical point of conversation post-Worlds 2019 is not so much about the action on The Rift, but more so in relation to the tournament’s format — more specifically, the impact of introducing a double elimination bracket. 

Although the success of Worlds 2019 has been unprecedented, many felt that the semi-finals between G2 and SK Telecom T1 was the summit that everyone hoped for. Moreover, Reddit user, ‘realjtmoney’, posted a hypothetical example of how the tournament could have panned out should a double-elimination bracket have been implemented from the get-go. 

According to the example, double-elimination would have set-up a clash between the two titans, alongside more action on The Rift — so what’s not to love? One thing to bear in mind is the logistics behind integrating more best-of-three series would prove difficult for Riot. Esports writer, Tyler Erzberger, has disclosed that Riot are sticking with the current format for the near future.

Although the addition of double-elimination would provide a safety net for teams in the Winner’s Bracket, the cutthroat nature of single-elimination series makes for some intense viewing — an element synonymous with all of the more renowned sporting events on the calendar (such as the World Cup in both Football and Rugby).

While Riot won’t be changing pace with their Worlds format, there is hope for a prospective World Cup to be hosted at some point in the future. Erzberger revealed: “It’s a when and not an if there will be a League of Legends World Cup.

Of course, years of planning would be needed to successfully incorporate a tournament of such a scale into the (already jam-packed) competitive schedule. An international competition of this nature would see teams stratified by country – and would separate the current multi-national roster meta of today – which would complement the increased global reach that LoL has gained in recent years. 

Although a rise in talent from LEC and other respective regions has become more apparent of-late, a World Cup would likely settle the ongoing debate of the superior nation between China and South Korea and would likely catapult viewership figures far north of the current standings.