League of Legends has 12 different professional leagues across the globe, which can make it rather difficult for even the most excited fans to keep an eye on everything.
Developer Riot Games is now rolling out a partial resolution – a complete rebrand with the goal of tying together the action from all over the world.
“We’re kind of at a pivot point with our sport,” says Riot’s David Higdon.
A Brand New Structure to Benefit Everyone
The heart of the redesign is rather simple: there is a new logo – a minimalist version of League of Legends iconic map, Summoner’s Rift, together with an ‘LoL Esports’ branding to merge it all. However, the idea behind the redesign is bigger: besides major international events such as the annual Mid-Season Invitational or World Championships, the teams and leagues do not really interact.
With the new global brand, the aim is to more closely tie the various regions together. Higdon compares the structure of FIFA, soccer’s worldwide governing body, which is at the top of all of the numerous professional leagues and associations all over the globe, organizing events including the World Cup.
According to Riot Games, viewership of the top four regions, China, South Korea, Europe, and North America, is up 129 percent this year, which the gaming giant believes is because of ‘increasingly global viewing habits.’ What this means is that people in the U.S. are looking for games from China’s LPL, while Korean fans are turning to what is taking place in Europe.
These customs are one of the reasons behind the new branding. To match the logo, Riot is also including new shows created specifically to connect all of the various regional leagues. This encompasses a news show every Tuesday that will showcase the latest developments across all 12 leagues, and a Wednesday highlights package screening the most outstanding plays.
The past, present, and future of global competition. It all lives within LoL Esports. pic.twitter.com/DqrAqWQq4J
— LoL Esports (@lolesports) July 21, 2020
One of the hopes is that this new system and focus will be of benefit for some of the smaller leagues in the structure. For now, the top four regions predominate the conversation, both when it comes to performances in international competitions and the capacity to attract viewers and sponsors.
“The numbers bear this out,” says Higdon. “You have the four major regions, and then you have the others.”
Riot Games plans to make sure that the smaller leagues also have an international spotlight more than once a year when teams have a run at the world championship. However, a new logo and a few shows won’t address every issue. Time zones still cause a logistical challenge for viewers, and the quality of play still differs a lot from region to region.
But for the developer, the more focused structure is also a statement as League of Legends has long been one of the most popular competitive titles in the world, and the gaming studio wants to keep that going for as long as possible.
“We consider ourselves very much in the leather helmet days,” says Higdon. “People forget that because, in the esports space, nine years is a long time. But we’re still very much in our infancy.”