Riot Games, the developer of the global phenomenon known as League of Legends, is looking to expand its already impressive eSports strategy with the addition of the League of Legends Championship Series, a completely new competitive league coming in Season Three.
Although the Season Two Championship is still two months away, Riot Games has outlined their ambitious plans to not only dominate the eSports scene, but expand it to never-before-seen levels.
As part of the new League of Legends Championship Series, the top professional teams – the top eight teams from both North America and Europe from Season 2, as well as top teams from Asia – will be offered salaries by Riot Games as they compete in regional and global competitions for bragging rights and millions of dollars worth in prize pools.
Season 3 will be a completely separate, dedicated series of tournaments overseen by Riot Games that will happen on a much more "frequent, scheduled basis". Fans will be able to tune in to these tournaments for free via regular television-broadcast quality matches streamed across the internet.
"Our Challenger Circuit partners will be back and better than ever, hosting major tournaments that will act as the proving grounds for the next generation of teams vying for a shot at competing in the League of Legends Championship Series," Riot detailed in the press release.
More details about Season Three's Championship Series will be revealed after the Season Two World Champions are crowed in L.A. on October 13, 2012.
I think this is finally the push eSports has needed to take it to a new level. Despite its growing popularity, many outside of gaming still view competitive gaming as a niche market. Could we be witness the growth of eSports into a form of mainstream entertainment?