League of Legends is a 2009 multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game developed and published by Riot Games. The term eSports (also known as competitive video gaming or pro gaming) is defined as “a form of sports where the primary aspects of the sport are facilitated by electronic systems; the input of players and teams, as well as the output of the eSports system, are mediated by human-computer interfaces.” League of Legends is one of the most popular PC games in the world and the League of Legends World Championship is the most-watched eSports tournament in 2020. And what makes League of Legends so popular? Because it is fun to watch, and it is constantly evolving.
At the beginning of every year, League of Legends will reset every player’s rank level and introduce a new season of the game. With every new season, you will possibly see item reworks, gameplay reworks, visual updates, and more. With the game consistently evolving each year, so are the players, and especially the pros. Professional League of Legends players has to adapt to all the changes quickly and develop new strategies so they can compete with other teams at the same level. It is safe to say that the League of Legends right now is a completely different game comparing to itself from 10 years ago.
It is exactly the constant changing and evolving of the gameplay that made League of Legends so successful. This is also what makes League of Legends so fun to watch. At the beginning of the season, people can watch and learn how the pros come up with new team comps, item builds, and different playstyle. And by the end of the season, the good team comps are tested, the best item builds is set, and the best strategy is discovered. People can watch the best teams from all over the world battling it out to see which team is best at executing those strategies and making those big plays.
However, what makes the competitive League of Legends more and more like a traditional sport is the massive amount of audiences all over the globe, increasingly complete league system, and recognition at an international level.
This year’s League of Legends Finals was broadcast in 16 languages and across 21 platforms, with an Average Minute Audience (AMA) of 23.04 million and 45.95 million Peak Concurrent Viewers (sportsvideo.org). The 4 main League of Legends Championship Series (NA, EU, China, and Korea) are transitioning into a franchised league system, which means create permanent partnerships with the teams, sponsorships, and even the team’s own esports venues. The scale is similar to most traditional sports leagues like the NFL or the NBA. League of Legends was also one of the six games chosen as demonstration sports at the Jakarta Palembang 2018 Asian Games.