League of Legends: Super Bowl Effect

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League of Legends: Super Bowl Effect

Riot games has recently announced the location of their World Championships for the next three years. This is a step in a new direction for the company, as in the past the decision seems to have been made last minute to the dismay of the fans wishing to attend. But with this move towards a championship scheduling similar to that of a mainstream sport, such as the Super Bowl for instance, I want to discuss the possibility of cities putting bids to host the illustrious event in the near future.

I am a resident of Houston Texas, so I will be using Houston as a reference point from here on out.

Houston has payed host to two Super Bowls in the past, once in 2004 and again in 2017, and in both instances it was a major boom to the city in terms of tourism and the hospitality industry. With roughly $428 million spent in the two weeks surrounding the event in 2017. With the explosion and still rapid expansion of the esports industry closing the gap between themselves and traditional sports like the NFL in terms for viewers and sponsorship, the question must be asked, how long until cities like Houston see something like the League of Legends World Championships as something worth bidding on?

The logistics for this are already beginning to take shape. With the collegiate league growing every year, and the advent of franchising a few seasons ago, more and more teams are playing in their home towns rather than moving to California as was the custom for any team to be taken seriously. And the infrastructure for this either already exists in many cities, such as the Astrodome (which recently got an approval for renovation) or any other of Houstons’ multiple arenas and stadiums. More venues will soon exist as many cities are currently beginning to construct arenas specifically for esports, such as the one recently announced in Arlington, Texas.

League of Legends and esports in general already tick off most of the boxes needed to be considered a viable and lucrative investment for a city. Events being hosted in various cities around the world will allow viewers who can afford a plane ticket to attend, bringing in tourism and additional spending. While many brands and cities are beginning to see the values of hosting events like the League of Legends World Championship or even the smaller domestic playoffs and finals, many other cities choose not to embrace this idea because of the fear of losing their investment. But as League of Legends proved when it first sold out the Staples Center so many seasons ago, and with every record breaking success they have had since then, League of Legends and the community are part of an esports movement that will only get bigger, in terms of viewership, investment opportunities and market share. So the only real fear that I would worry about if I were one of these cities is the fear of missing out.

Source for the Arlington Arena 
Source for Super Bowl revenue numbers
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Alex Mcalpine
Alex graduated from UWO with a degree in journalism. He is a Battle Royale and FPS guru. He often reads 'Winner Winner Chicken Dinner' as he is ranked in the top 100 on the PUBG leaderboards. Alex is also an Overwatch and CoD expert. You can learn more about Alex via our About page.