Riot Games has taken the decision to end operation of the Oceanic Pro League (OPL) — closing its office in Sydney as a result.
The news comes out of the blue for many League of Legends fans, especially those in the OPL community. Riot Games cited that:
“Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of our teams and players, the OPL has not met our goals for the league," Riot said. Adding they "do not believe that the market is currently able to support the league in its current form.”
The Oceania region was considered a minor region in global League of Legends; however, at the most recent Worlds Legacy Esports, the OPL representative was just one best-of-5 win away from making Group Stage.
Crazy to see the dissolution of the OPL - @Atlustv & I cast the first ever OPL game of Legacy vs. Chiefs 5 years ago and I know there are so many talented people on the team and broadcast side over there.
Thoughts go out to everyone, lot of great people working out next steps https://t.co/Y0R5D9CQNj
— Chris Smith (@PapaSmithy) October 7, 2020
OCE to retain a spot at MSI and Worlds 2021
According to Riot Games they'll be maintaining a league in Australia and OCE will retain a spot at MSI and Worlds in 2021, hosting qualifying tournaments for both events. However news of such events wasn't announced in the press release.
The only upside for players in the region is that OCE players will be added to the pool of players allowed to play in the North American LCS — without using up an import spot. The downside to this news is that travel between the two regions requires a flight of 20-hours or more. Plus the question of whether players will have the ability to travel to the region during a global pandemic.
Legacy Esports, the OPL representative at Worlds 2020 released a statement committing to the region.
“Legacy Esports remains committed to competing in League of Legends in 2021. Following a standout year with 2 OPL titles and a record Worlds 2020 run, we are saddened by today’s news that the Riot Games Oceania office is closing and with it the Oceanic Pro League as we know it". The statement said. "We are exploring what League of Legends in Oceania will look like in 2021. OCE will retain its Mid Season Invitational and Worlds spots and we intend on qualifying for both.”