Riot Games has announced that League of Legends will be part of the Asian Games 2018 as an official demonstration sport. Recognised by the International Olympic Committee as the second largest multi-sport event in the world behind the Olympics themselves, Riot confirmed that their game will be playable at Asian Games despite the Olympic committee expelling violent games from their competitions.
As reported by Dot Esports, Riot co-head of esports Jarred Kennedy said, “We’re honored that League of Legends was selected for the Asian Games. Representing one’s country at the Olympics is a dream for athletes around the world, and with this step, that dream is one step closer to reality for the best in our sport. We admire and respect the values of the Olympic movement and look forward to supporting the Olympic Council of Asia in making this competition a success.”
Riot will work with the Olympic Council of Asia besides various member nations to organise the tournament in the format for selecting the teams that will represent each nation. 45 nations will be taking part in regional qualifiers throughout June, in which each country will field their own team. Host nation Indonesia will automatically progress to the main competition, while South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia will field one team each. Esports maintain a wider cultural relevance in Asia than many other parts of the world, so it’s a notable step towards their recognition on an Olympic stage.
Due to the highly competitive nature of esports within South East Asia four teams will progress where nations and not organisations, will field teams. For fans, this will be another opportunity to see their favourite teams and players representing their own countries at a massive multi-sport event.
Esports coming to the Asian Games were originally announced in April 2017 after Chinese internet giant Alibaba partnered with the Olympic Council of Asia. The finals for League will take place sometime in late August, but the exact date hasn’t been confirmed.
Asian Games will take place from 18 August 2018 to 2 September 2018 in Jakarta-Palembang, Indonesia.