After a brief hiatus, competitive League of Legends is returning to the Oceanic region with new investors, a new format, and hopefully much-improved viewership results. ESL, in partnership with Guinevere Capital, have teamed up to unveil the League of Legends Circuit Oceania, a new 8-team LoL competition that will soon replace the now-defunct OPL as the premier LoL esports tournament in the region.
Last year’s catastrophic announcement for OPL seemed to be the beginning of the end for a region hemorrhaging players to more popular leagues, but this new development seems to be the saving grace for Oceanic LoL and their followers. The competition is set to debut on February 23, where the competition will expand over 19 game days. Legacy organizations from the region such as Dire Wolves, Legacy, and Mammoth Esports will all be competing at the tournament this month.
Raise your Koalas: The return of Oceanic LoL
In this week’s announcement, Dave Harris (managing director at Guinevere Capital) made elated comments over the work it took to get the LCO league idea off the ground. Harris thanked the ‘players, teams, brands and fans’ who came together to ensure the Oceanic region has their most competitive year of LoL yet, and they may actually achieve that goal with the product they have in place.
The main issue with OPL’s previous format was that it was a Riot run entity that never really felt the need to expand or push reach in order to further establish themselves with that audience. However, with the backing they have now, there are plenty of people like Peter Du (LCO Manager, Senior Project Manager at ESL Australia) who work in positions of power that can facilitate the league to grow bigger than it’s ever been.
A senior manager like Du understands the importance of potential, and the Oceanic region has been a breeding ground for cheap and effective talent in multiple regions, and they want to continue putting resources into those strengths going forward.
For starters, the ESL Esports studios in Sydney will be the venue for all in-house competitive action, which is a bold step considering much bigger leagues have been attempting to save on costs during covid stricken eras of competition. The ESL announcement also mentioned the return of old faces and an implementation of new talent on the broadcasting side of things within the LCO.
While Riot almost killed the region and clipped their wings right at the end of 2020, the Oceanic regions feverish push for stable competition in the region kept their hopes alive, and with this new team structure and financial backing, the OCE region is in the best possible position they could be for future growth as long as fans continue supporting loyally the way they have.
A region on the rise
Players like FBI, Lost, Shernfire and Raes have all made the jump across the pond to the LCS from the old Oceanic Pro League (OPL) since the growth of competition started in the region. With this new look LCO, the fostering of talent can hopefully continue while endemic Australian players participate in a league where they can practice and develop their talents.
This announcement is a huge boost in the Oceanic sails as the winner of the LCO Spring Split gets direct qualification into MSI. The region finally has a return to pro league competition now that League of Legends Circuit Oceania is back. Now, the Australian scene can get back to developing home-grown talent and competing in international competitions without setbacks like before.