SAN FRANCISCO - November 21, 2021 - Riot Games announced today that its premier esports event, the League of Legends World Championship, returns to North America for the first time since 2016 with a continental tour.
The Worlds 2022 event will feature:
Play-Ins in Mexico City, Mexico;
Groups and Quarterfinals in New York City;
Semifinals in Toronto, Canada;
Finals in San Francisco, California.
This will be the first time Riot Games has hosted a multinational North American Worlds, making first-time stops in both Mexico and Canada.
The announcement was made at a press conference at Chase Center prior to the Golden State Warriors vs. Toronto Raptors NBA game featuring teams from the semifinal city (Toronto) and final city (San Francisco). Participants outlined Riot’s plan to “canvas North America,” with the final two stops being Scotiabank Arena, home of the Toronto Raptors, and Chase Center, home of the six-time NBA Champion Golden State Warriors.
The Worlds 2022 venue lineup also includes Play-Ins from LoL Esports’ Liga Latinoamerica (LLA) competition arena before contesting both Groups and the Quarterfinals at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.
“The momentum behind League of Legends Esports has only continued to grow since the last time we hosted Worlds in the U.S. in 2016. We're thrilled to bring the full scale of our global sport back to North America, and, COVID permitting, welcome fans into the stands across three countries and four different cities,” said Naz Aletaha, Global Head of LoL Esports. “Worlds is the showcase of the greatest of our sport, and we look forward to celebrating that with our fans in North America and across the world.”
Chase Center, also home of the Golden Guardians, a team in LoL Esports’ North American league (LCS), opened its doors in 2019. It is an award-winning sports and entertainment arena that boasts a seating capacity of 18,064. In addition to Warriors’ home games, the venue also hosts a variety of concerts, conventions, and other large-scale events.
Chase Center will be the 10th unique arena to host a Worlds Final. The most recent Worlds Finals venues and locations include the Laugardalshöll Sport Center in Reykjavík, Iceland (2021); SAIC Motor Pudong Arena in China (2020); AccorHotels Arena in Paris, France (2019); Incheon Munhak Stadium in Incheon, South Korea (2018); Beijing National Stadium in Beijing, China (2017); and the Staples Center in Los Angeles (2016).
Scotiabank Arena, also home to the Toronto Maple Leafs, opened its doors in 1999 and is often ranked the #1 Canadian arena. The venue has been recognized with more than 50 industry awards highlighting the venue’s security, accessibility, fan service, environmental commitment, food and beverage, marketing, design, partnerships, live entertainment, sales and box office service.
Sunday’s announcement prior to the Warriors vs. Raptors game featured Riot’s senior most esports executives alongside top casters and LoL Esports players:
John Needham, President, Esports at Riot Games
Naz Aletaha, Global Head of LoL Esports
Chris Greeley, Head of Esports, North America and Oceania Pacific
Martin Blaquier, Head of Esports, Latin America
Eric "Licorice" Ritchie, top laner for Golden Guardians, LCS
Choi "huhi" Jae-hyun, support for 100 Thieves, LCS
Isaac "Azael" Cummings-Bentley, commentator and analyst
Sam "Kobe" Hartman-Kenzler, commentator and analyst
Worlds is the pinnacle of LoL Esports competition in which the top teams from 12 diverse regions compete for the world champion title. Held at the end of the regular season in a different host region each year, 24 teams from Riot’s 12 professional leagues participate in the month-long tournament to crown one team as the best in the world. The 2020 World Championship shattered previous viewership records with more than 45.95 million peak concurrent viewers worldwide and an average minute audience (AMA) of more than 23.04 million.
In November 2021, the 2021 Worlds Final came down to Worlds defending champions and heavy favorites DWG KIA from Riot Games’ South Korean league, LCK, facing EDward Gaming, the top-seeded team from Riot’s China league, LPL. EDG raised the Summoner’s Cup trophy and earned Mercedes-Benz championship rings after a thrilling best-of-five series. Worlds 2021 set new viewership records for esports that surpassed Worlds 2020’s numbers, with a report detailing official numbers to be released in December.
Additional information regarding Worlds 2022 will be announced at a later date.
What They’re Saying about Worlds 2022:
Kirk Lacob, Golden State Warriors Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations and Vice President, GSW Sports Ventures
“As a world-class entertainment venue, Chase Center is not only home to the Golden State Warriors and Golden Guardians, but also concerts, family shows, and now global esports events. We couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with Riot Games to bring Worlds back to North America in 2022, and to crown the next World Champion at Chase Center.”
Melissa Bubb-Clarke, Senior Vice President, Music & Live Events at MLSE
“We look forward to welcoming League Of Legends once again, this time for their 2022 World Championship at Scotiabank Arena. The esports community is growing exponentially in Canada and our fans will be excited to have the opportunity to attend and watch the best of the best of LoL.”
Martin Blaquier, Head of Esports, Latin America, Riot Games
“Latin America is a high potential growth market, where millions of esports fans have enjoyed both local and global events in recent years. We also have a solid ecosystem around esports, where sponsors, business partners, team owners, and players have built a self-sustaining and forward-looking sports scene. Hosting the Play-In Stage will mark a milestone for the region; it will be a dream come true for our fans and will lay the foundations for the future of esports in Latin America.”
Martin Blaquier, Head of Esports Latinoamérica, Riot Games
“Latinoamérica es una región con enorme potencial de crecimiento, donde millones de fanáticos de los esports han disfrutado de grandes eventos tanto locales como globales. Asimismo contamos con un sólido ecosistema alrededor de los esports, donde patrocinadores, socios comerciales, dueños de equipos y jugadores han construido una escena deportiva autosustentable y con proyección a futuro. Ser sede del Play-In marcará un hito para la región, será un sueño cumplido para nuestros fans y sentará las bases para el futuro de los esports en Latinoamérica.”
Chris Greeley, Head of Esports, North America and Oceania Pacific, Riot Games
“The esports landscape has changed so much since fans last had the opportunity to experience Worlds in North America in 2016. We are eager to make this the most exciting year in esports history with the first esports ever at an NFL stadium at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas in April and the LCS Championship at a soon to be announced venue in August. All of this will be an appetizer for what I expect will be a return to having our amazing fans back with us across all of North America.”
David Ng, President, Edward Gaming
“Last time at the Worlds in North America, back in 2016, EDG was not able to make out of quarterfinals. Now, we are looking forward to coming back as the defending champion and going to multi-cities across North America that we've never been to before. EDG will work hard with LPL and prepare for the 2022 World Championship.”
About LoL Esports™
LoL Esports is a premier global sport that has attracted the attention of millions of fans around the world since 2011. More than 800 players on 100+ professional League of Legends esports teams compete across a dozen leagues globally. Within each regional league, teams compete against one another over the course of two seasonal splits in hopes of earning regional titles and championship points. LoL Esports boasts a roster of industry-leading global sponsors and best-in-class partners. For more information, visit: www.lolesports.com and www.lolesports media.com.