UPDATE: Another source close to the situation has informed us that the production and headsets info below is incorrect. Though one of our original sources says it’s correct.
GAME’s former strategy manager Jonathan Tilbury commented on Twitter:
Not sure who the source is, but the bulk of those claims are untrue. So much love went into this event (from both sides) and everyone was proud of the final product. Simple (read: boring) reason it didn’t happen again was that both parties were going through too much change.
— Jonathan Tilbury (@Arcadizz1e) January 2, 2018
Back in the summer of 2016, Riot Games and Multiplay Events teamed up to host League Fest – a festival of all things League of Legends. And ENUK has obtained new information as to why it may have been scrapped.
League Fest was a great first event. It had its own dedicated hall at Insomnia58 at the Birmingham NEC and took place between August 26th to 28th 2016.
The event consisted of a £15,000 Pro-Am featuring a mix of veteran players and up-and-coming talent, from Dyrus to Voyboy and Joekerism to Larssen, as well as cosplay competitions, meet and greets, showmatches, a viewing party, merch stall and guest appearances from streamers.
There were more than 3,000 attendees, according to Multiplay Events, and the stream seemed active.
Overall it was a decent event for the UK League of Legends community, so it was a shame when Riot decided it would not be bringing League Fest back in 2017.
Why didn’t League Fest return in 2017? Here’s what Riot originally said
John King (aka Riot Bolton) said back in May that League Fest’s omission from Insomnia in 2017 was partly due to Riot focusing on opening and hiring for its new UK office.
“That transition comes with a lot of movement and requires teams to be agile and ready for change,” he said.
“After careful consideration we feel that we would not be able to build the team and invest enough time to deliver the quality level that players expect and deserve when they think of League Fest. As such, we have made the difficult decision not to host League Fest in 2017.”
So what does the newer info state?
Information was brought to Esports News UK anonymously earlier this year, and we’ve been doing some further research with it over the past few months.
Riot sadly failed to clarify the info or provide a comment about it, but Multiplay Events did provide a response.
From what we understand, there wasn’t a single reason why Riot and Multiplay Events may have decided not to run another League Fest in 2017, instead there were several smaller issues. We’ve broken them down below.
Apparently there were some problems with the overlays throughout League Fest.
There were parts missing and overlays produced in incorrect formats, according to sources.
Other issues allegedly included a lack of noise cancelling headsets, due to them being used at other parts of Insomnia, as well as minor lighting issues.
Esports News UK understands Riot was not happy that alleged ‘counterfeit’ League of Legends merchandise was apparently being sold in the i58 expo hall.
It’s probably fair to say League Fest was not promoted at i58 as well as it could have been. There was a lack of signage in the halls and as we understand it, scheduling wasn’t super clear to attendees.
There was also an apparent lack of systems and signage informing the audience that League of Legends is technically a 13+ game, and some confusion around where attendees were supposed to pick up tickets and goody bags.
So what, right? These things happen at events. Hey, we’re just the messengers.
Communication between Riot and Multiplay Events may not have been as smooth as it could’ve been, which meant there were apparently delays between communication and things getting done. We heard that League Fest was announced late due to complications around the logo and contract delays.
One source said: “Multiplay was originally promised creative control, but Riot likes to micromanage. However, League Fest is their brand to be fair.”
Staff and guests
We all know that the likes of Riot and Multiplay Events work bloody hard, as was the case here. They seemed particularly busy at League Fest though, and sources tell us that some were working to the point of exhaustion.
With the team stretched, there weren’t enough staff to manage certain areas and we heard that some staff felt overworked without enough support.
To make matters worse, apparently some staff and volunteers wandered off and went missing during the event. One source told us that Multiplay Events apparently lacked an expert understanding of League of Legends.
Also, according to our sources, Riot was particularly delighted that Gross Gore was not involved in any drama at i58.
Multiplay Events’ response
We put the above info to both Riot and Multiplay Events. While the former didn’t respond, Multiplay Events had this to say:
On the event not being well signposted or promoted
A Multiplay Events spokesperson said: “A quote from John King to us after the event: ‘Firstly out of the 3000+ attendees, 20% responded to the survey which is a brilliant hit rate, and Riot’s marketing guys had to double check the results as 3.5 is considered a very high score and 4 a phenomenal score based on their previous events and every aspect of the show has scored above that.”
On staffing issues
“The event was staffed and managed and no issues with staff or volunteers – overall Riot were pleased with the event and the feedback from customers.”
On Multiplay Events apparently lacking an expert understanding of League of Legends
“Multiplay Events used a number of people well known in the industry and to Riot, as an example Gary Kimmelman.”
Multiplay Events was not seemingly aware of the ‘counterfeit’ LoL merch, the want for making it clear that LoL is a 13+ game, overlay issues and confusion around where tickets were supposed to be picked up.
A spokesperson said: “This has not been brought to our attention by Riot.”
On the age rating point, they said: “For peace of mind all children under the age of 16 are all accompanied by an adult or companion.”
On League Fest apparently being announced late due to complications around the logo, Multiplay Events added: “This has not been brought to our attention by Riot, the logo would of come directly to us from Riot.”
On alleged confusion around ticketing: “This is the first time this has been brought to our attention, these were at the main entrance to the show.”
Could League Fest return?
In Riot’s announcement back in May, the developer did not rule out League Fest potentially returning, but admitted it didn’t know if or when it would return in the future.
So the door is open, but regardless of whether League Fest returns or remains permanently canned, you can be sure that Riot UK has a range of community activity and events up its sleeve, especially now that it’s UK office is pretty much complete and it has just hired its new head of esports.
Riot Games did not respond to Esports News UK’s requests for comment.
Image source: Insomnia Flickr / David Portass / iEventMedia.co.uk
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.