Lausanne, October 4th, 2018 – As the first esport organizer, Riot Games, owner of the world’s largest esport title, has carried out a host city bidding process as it is known from traditional sports. The process has been a great success documenting widespread interest from cities in esports.

In September 2018, Riot Games hosted the incredible EU LCS Finals in Madrid. The finals took place in a sold-out Palacio Vistalegre Arena where no less than 15.000 passionate esports fans were entertained, and their expectations exceeded. Esport, yielding impressive numbers in broadcast, is also a massive live event phenomenon.

As part of the preparation for future mega-events, Riot Games and BCW Sports practice formed a partnership to explore the interest in esport from host cities. BCW Sports practice further assisted in developing criteria, the outreach process and the evaluation of city bids.

During the weekend, 16 potential host cities participated and gained great insights on how to combine esport events with city activation and growth initiatives. Likewise, the city representatives were inspired on how to increase economic impact and embrace esport as well as learned about essential differences between hosting and utilizing esports events compared to traditional sports events. Although many of the attendees had been in the event sphere for many years, they were, like many others experiencing esports live for the first time, greatly surprised and impressed by the atmosphere created by 15.000 esport fans in a sold-out Palacio Vistalegre Arena.

The partnership has led to a record-breaking amount of bids and enquiries for the forthcoming finals in 2019 and 2020. The deadline for bidding for the 2019 finals has just passed, and Riot and cities are in the last phase of negotiations. However, future opportunities exists, creating an opportunity for cities interested in hosting an extraordinary international event that will lure thousands of young tech-educated fans from all over the world to their city for the world’s elite esport.

As a successful game developer and a world leader within esport, Riot Games has seen a rapid increase in interest from cities to host the large arena events. The increased interest is a natural result of modern cities looking for new and exciting ways of attracting talent, market technology and youth initiatives, and attract start-ups and tech companies – the exact environment that the League of Legends Finals produce.

Alban Dechelotte, Head of Partnerships at Riot Games says; ”our competitions are turning into such large events that it is only natural for us to start working directly with host cities. Thousands of guests stemming from an attractive demography travel in from all over the world, and we want to work with cities that can support a great experience for everyone attending. Structuring this process, based on how host cities already work has been essential.”

For more information contact:

Tanya Heimlich-Ng Yuen, Director

Ronnie Hansen, Director