It’s official – ESL has confirmed that the winners of its upcoming 2016 Spring Season League of Legends UK Premiership tournament will secure a spot in Riot’s EU Challenger Series (CS) qualifiers.
This means one of the rumours we heard last month is true (but sadly not the one about ESL doubling its prize money to £20,000 – as the Spring Season will instead have a prize pool of £10,500). Read more Season 3 details here.
Riot also hinted at the announcement last year, after Riot’s head of EU eSports Jason Yeh said: “The goal is to create a clearly defined path to pro [for UK and other EU players].”
The announcement is significant for a number of reasons. Not only does it mean that the best League of Legends team in the UK will now represent the region on the European stage, it also encourages consistency with team rosters.
Last season, after Team Infused won Season 2 of the ESL UK Premiership, the players soon left to join other teams. Alphari joined Renegades’ European team Banditos (featuring UK players, who have sadly been knocked out of the qualifiers by Millenium this evening), Maxlore left for Inspire and Arphan joined Russian side Tornado Rox.
Under the new changes, players will have an extra incentive to stick together and qualify for the Challenger Series – just one tier below the top Championship Series. The winning team will also help to put the UK eSports scene on the map and allow it to generate wider coverage, which could, in turn, attract more sponsors and fans to UK eSports.
Last year, Riot announced that the 2016 EU Challenger Series will consist of two of the lowest CS teams from the 2015 CS Summer Split, three teams from Open Qualifiers, and three national league winners – from Germany, Spain and Poland.
Under the new rules, Riot is aiming to add the UK and Ireland, France and the Nordic Regions to those list of national winner spaces, which helps to give the EU CS a fairer representation of Europe.
Riot also announced other CS changes this evening.
ESL UK MD James Dean said: “This is something the entire UK ESL team has been striving for and we’re extremely proud to have now achieved this with the help from Riot Games.
“The commitment is essential to continue growth and sustainability of the UK League of Legends eSports community, making a passion into a career.”
Here’s how the UK eSports scene reacted to the news.
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
A keen League of Legends and World of Warcraft player, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He works as full-time content director for the British Esports Association and runs ENUK in his spare time.