Esports has taken another step forward, with Riot Games bringing a new League of Legends regional European championship to the United Kingdom.
Announced last week, the UK League Championship (UKLC) will partner with the esports organization, LVP, to bring a spring and summer championship event series, both of which will take place over the course of seven weeks.
The inaugural season of the UKLC will kick off on February 13th, and will feature nine UK-based teams as they vie for a playoff spot in the EU Masters tournament, featuring a total prize of €150,000. The top four teams will compete in the Grand Final, which will take place on March 31st.
Riot is going all-in for the UKLC with a multi-year, multi-million-pound investment, reportedly bringing in broadcasting talent for the events which will be streamed live online on Twitch every Wednesday and Thursday between 6pm and 11pm (GMT) during the span of the competition.
"The UK League Championship is one of a group of regional leagues spinning up around Europe that we hope will help firmly establish the route from amateur to pro play in League of Legends," Riot Games' Head of UK Esports, Mo Fadl, told GamesIndustry.biz. "We want to make sure talented players have a natural path they can follow wherever they happen to live, and the UK is a super important part of that."
What makes the UKLC different from previous leagues is the fact that Riot is focused on the longevity of the league as a way to promote growth and esports overall. Teams were required to submit business plans that detailed players’ work environments, legal information, financial forecasts, as well as marketing and branding strategies.
2019 is looking to be (another) banner year for Riot with the creation of the UKLC, as well as their entry into the comic book world. Any success of the UKLC will also hopefully help the esports movement overall, which would be perfect timing considering the conversation surrounding esports' possible entry into the Olympics as an actual athletic event.