League of Legends LANs cover.jpg

Are League of Legends LANs doomed to disappear?

It has now been several times that we heard about this topic from different people of the industry. Players, team owners or event organizers. This is the reason why we wanted to write an article about it to raise their concerns and receive more opinion about it.

A League of Legends offline event is always a fantastic show watched by thousands and thousands of fans. The Worlds 2017 has proven it once again by filling up a traditional sports stadium and the EU LCS Summer Split Finals held in Paris gathered a crowd larger than some traditional sports events. But these are esports events thought as entertainment, for spectators watching superstars. What about offline competitions (LANs) for all the other teams and players not taking part in these?

A LAN result is out of reach for 80% of the teams

Players, team owners or event organizers we have met all feel the same trend: less and less teams are attending League of Legends offline competitions. And for what reason? Because “attending an event to be outrageously dominated is not fun and [they] prefer to stay at home and play online. It is cheaper and more rewarding”.

While LANs always have a League of Legends tournament, they have more and more trouble filling it up. Smaller teams playing for fun who would like to attend these events no longer want to, knowing that the top teams will just dominate them outrageously and will take all the fun out.

The fun/expense ratio is no longer worth it

To attract more teams, events announce a larger cash prize for the League of Legends tournaments. But this also leads to better teams to attend the event and therefore makes it much harder for anyone else to have a reasonable chance to achieve a top 3. For famous LANs, top teams are generally granted anonymous reserved slots so other teams don’t get demotivated too early seeing the names. And for smaller tournaments, they are just waiting until a week before the competition to officially register so other teams sign up before.

Most of the teams attending events pay their expenses by themselves and don’t have any sponsor to cover them. And for these, paying an always increasing entry fee to play 3 group stage matches and go home is no longer ok. Especially when you add up the travel and accommodation fees. It is not worth the money they put in.

A gap increasing season after season

Over the year and with the professionalization of the League of Legends scene (and esports in general), the level gap has heavily increased between the leading teams and the rest of them.

Event organizers have therefore come up with the “amateur” tournament, allowing teams finishing last of the group stage to be assigned to a second tournament, often offering hardware, equipment or a little bit of cash as a reward. This would normally mean that they can play more games, have more fun and therefore have a better value for money. But this solution is not perfect either. With more and more organizations having both a main and an academy line-up, we have witnessed some of these “2nd” line-ups lose on purpose in the group stage in order to access the amateur tournament and win it, knowing that they wouldn’t stand a chance in the “elite” bracket.

Many gameplay changes

One of the reasons why this gap is growing season after season is that League of Legends is always changing. Patches are released regularly with new champions, changes applied on older champions or on items, or just like recently, a completely revamped rune and mastery system. Obviously, amateur teams can’t put the same amount of time in learning the new mechanics as the professional organizations and this lead to unbalanced competition.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, on the contrary, doesn’t see its gameplay change so often and the gap between teams is less obvious. It doesn’t mean that it is better than the system in place with League of Legends, but teams seem more willing to attend LANs which are always full.

What future for League of Legends events?

With all of these facts and complaints from the community, we can wonder what will happen with the League of Legends LANs. Will they disappear for a different game? Or will they just be purely esports events reserved to professional teams, selected and invited by the organizers with the objective to attract spectators? 

Please share the article with your network to gather more opinion on this topic. I would love to hear what you think about this. Have you felt or heard the same in your region? According to you, how could this situation evolve in the future? Don't hesitate to connect with me on to discuss the topic more in depth.
League of Legends
EU LCS Summer Split Finals - 2017