China will be hosting the 2021 League of Legends World Championship according to the announcement by the Riot Games in June 2021. It will be interesting to see what transpires from this rising e-sport especially given that the physical sporting world has been experiencing challenges due to restrictions that have been put in place to curb COVID-19 infections.
There is evidence that the popularity of e-sports has been growing, this is seen with the rise of esports betting Philippines where millions of betters are looking for platforms where they can try their fortunes. In this article Evelyn Balyton explores one of the major events in e-sports; the 2021 League of Legends World Championship, as well as gives an insight into the rising tide of esports in the world.
2021 League of Legends World Championship
This is the crowning event of the LoL e-sports where twenty-four teams will be participating in a month-long race with the target being the Summoner’s Cup. China has been identified as the hosting nation with four cities namely Shanghai, Wuhan, Shenzhen, Qingdao, and Chengdu staging the games.
China is hosting the event for the second time in a row after the 2020 event was affected by COVID 19 restrictions where spectators were not allowed. The country has also hosted the 2017 tournaments. North America was supposed to host the 2021 tournaments but now their chance of hosting the largest e-sports tournament will be in 2022.
Organizers of the event promise to deliver a high-notch entertainment experience, one that is unprecedented in the history of e-sports. E-sports is has become a big deal today. The giant industry which is estimated to be worth more than $1.8 billion with the figure expected to rise within a short period has been attracting huge audiences, especially during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Forbes reported that the audience has now reached more than 600 million with the figure set to rise to almost one billion within one year. The rise in popularity of e-sports is attributed to an appetite for alternative games especially at a period when physical sports had taken a hit due to restrictions in the stadiums.
The number of e-sports athletes has also experienced an upward rise with the conventional estimates putting a forty percent annual increase since the 2000s. LA Times has put the figure of people who participate in e-sports to be approximately 8 million every day.
Universiade Sports Center
Best LoL teams from different parts of the world will be looking to take home pride through participation in the prestigious e-sports tournament and also a winner of the most coveted title, the Summoner’s Cup.
The world finals will be held in the Universiade Sports Center on November 6th, 2021 in the bustling city of Shenzhen. The pick of this venue was not by chance, the city is the leading center for innovation and technology in China.
The venue that will be hosting the event has a capacity of 60,334, although it is not yet clear whether fans will be allowed into the stadium due to COVID-19 related restrictions.
Analysts predict that the event may be different from last year’s since the COVID-19 situation has greatly improved in the country as well as in the world. They are hoping that fans may be allowed into the stadium mainly due to strong vaccination campaigns around the world. “The world is coming out of long lockdowns courtesy of the vaccines. We have seen large concerts in China and other parts of the world.
We have seen stadiums packed during the Euro and Copa American cups and yet no major incidences have been recorded. So the major e-sports in the world will not be different, “said one optimistic e-sports enthusiast. We agree with these sentiments; Universiade Sports Center should allow fans to witness the largest e-sports event.
It will be extremely exciting to see teams push the boundaries of sports and entertainment in a city that is considered important in the development of high-tech start-ups.
The choice of China justified
The choice of China as the host especially as a back-to-back host is seen as fair by the analysts given that the country has heavily invested in e-sporting activities and infrastructure. Also, the fact that Riot Games, the publisher has some roots in China gives the country an edge.
University Sports Center in Shenzhen is joining ranks of great venues which have hosted the finals in the past. They include:
- Shanghai Stadium-China in 2020
- Accor Hotels Arena- France in 2019
- Inchoen Munhak Stadium in South Korea in 2018
- Beijing National Stadium –China in 2017
- Madison Square New York in 2016, and
- Seoul Korea World Cup Stadium in 2014
The 2022 championships will be returning to the United States in a venue that will be announced later.
The whole fraternity is waiting for this big event. Expectations are high given that China has hosted the event twice and also the fact that the country is highly dedicated to the development of e-sports.