Toronto is hosting a major world championship for an unlikely sport
Tens of millions will tune in to the 2022 League of Legends World Championship next year, and Riot Games has announced that the global esports tournament will include some big matches right here in Toronto.
Toronto's position on the international sports stage is growing, but it is the exciting world of esports that is really putting the city on the map for a new audience.
The local esports scene is already buzzing about a new stadium in the works for Exhibition Place, and fans are now revelling in the news that one of the most significant esports events on the calendar will include matches in The 6ix.
League of Legends Worlds returning to NA officially announced!!!— Peter (@PeterSchipper13) November 21, 2021
Mexico City, New York City, Toronto, San Francisco.
Guess I’m traveling to Toronto or NYC or…both.
The League of Legends World Championship, known by fans as the 'Worlds,' will be an international, multi-city affair spanning the continent.
The tournament will start with play-ins in Mexico City, followed by group matches and quarterfinals in New York City, semifinal matches in Toronto, and then the finals in San Francisco.
News of the host cities and venues was revealed on Sunday night at the Chase Center in San Francisco ahead of the Toronto Raptors game against the Golden State Warriors.
Riot Games announced that both teams' home arenas would host games, the semifinals to take place at the Scotiabank Arena.
League of Legends Worlds 2022 locations confirmed:— The Esports Writer (@FionnOnFire) November 21, 2021
🇲🇽 Play-ins in Mexico City at the Liga Latinoamerica Arena
🇺🇸 Groups and Quartefinals in New York City at the Hulu Theater at MSG
🇨🇦 Semifinals in Toronto at Scotiabank Arena
🇺🇸 Grand Finals in San Francisco at Chase Center pic.twitter.com/8DiF99rQzn
The news has fans in the city excited, not just for the growth of esports in general but also for the return of major esports events in the city.
League of Legends World Championship semifinals in Toronto next year? LFG 😤🇨🇦— Colin McNeil (@McNeilColin) November 22, 2021
In 2016 we had the NA LCS Summer Finals in the same arena. That was my first stadium level esports experience and I'll never forget it. Excited to have LoL esports back in town.
Pro gamers and the esports community won't have to wait long; the tournament is set to see the best and brightest players square off for the world champion title in January.
TORONTO LET'S GOOOOOOOOO— Julian Carr (@Pastrytime) November 21, 2021
Fans could be looking at a packed house of around 20,000 come the semifinals next year, barring a winter uptick in infections and a dreaded return of lockdowns or capacity restrictions.
EXCITED CANADIAN NOISES!!!! pic.twitter.com/ayXqFbb7ZM— Butler (@ButlerE15) November 20, 2021
And it seems Toronto's importance on the global esports stage had been gaining international recognition even before Sunday's announcement.
Without knowing, we ranked all four of these cities in our tier list of best cities to host a major esports eventhttps://t.co/qL0pj9JWc8— The Esports Writer (@FionnOnFire) November 21, 2021
Despite all the excitement, there are worries that players having to travel across three countries, each with their own specific entry requirements and vaccination protocols, could present problems.
How will this work in terms of visas? Won't having it in 3 countries lead to more potential issues?— KnightOfRohan (@KnightOfRohanLo) November 21, 2021
I really hope it works because having part of it here in Toronto would be so amazing!
And, of course, the reactions included some classic Toronto hate.
Ah yes I sometimes forget that Toronto is the only city in Canada.— Spencer Groenewold (@AnimeVatican) November 20, 2021
"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," said Naz Aletaha, Global Head of LoL Esports.
"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."
"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," said Aletaha.
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