league legends world championship

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

And it seems Toronto's importance on the global esports stage had been gaining international recognition even before Sunday's announcement.

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.

And, of course, the reactions included some classic Toronto hate.

"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.

Lead photo by

@scotiabankarena


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