Riot Interview: Co-Heads of Esports talk new LCS teams & the future of NA LCS

Alright guys, welcome to the MyCasinoIndex Interviews, we have co-heads of esports. Whalen Rozelle, Jarred Kennedy, thanks for coming in. Great to be here. Yeah nice to be here. So you guys are in here to talk about a pretty big announcement that Riot’s got out today. Can you guys guys up to speed on what’s the news.

You wanna take it? Go for it. OK so we’re announcing our 10 partners that we’re going to be going forward in the NA LCS with. We’re super excited about this we can go through who the teams are. But before we do that this is a really exciting moment for the League because we’ve been talking about building towards sustainability and giving teams the opportunity to invest for the long term and for sponsors to come and invest for the long term and also to give pros more of a voice. There’s a bunch of things we’ve been talking about thematically and we think that the steps that we’re taking, that we’re kind of finalizing today in announcing, goes a long way to achieving a lot of those goals.

And just for people who might not have actually followed us about this process, is that you know sort of the LCS up until this point when we launched in 2013 up through last year has been a relegation promotion system. Right. So teams who didn’t compete super were at risk of being knocked out of the league and so you know what essentially we’re doing is we selected the 10 teams who will be sort of like the teams who will be permanently in the LCS and be joining us towards building a brighter future and we are very excited to both welcome in some new teams as well as you know of course welcome back some perennial favorites and some teams who we think will actually continue to do very well in the LCS and I think that that diversity of ownership will really I think level up the entire league hopefully creating something better for fans both next year and in five years down the road, 10 years down the road.

We really think that this will set us up for a really bright future. So who are the new teams? So we’ve got four new teams. We’ve got the Golden Guardians, we’ve got Clutch Gaming. And we have 100 Thieves and Optic Gaming.

But then also some of the teams have taken this opportunity to bring on sort of new investments for sociology of course has been a team that we’ve all known and loved. If you’re CLG fan, you might have loved and hated over the course of time, but they’ve brought in Madison Square Garden Company who has a strong background in traditional sports as well, so we have this blend of teams who have been in the league like TSM, Cloud9, Team Liquid, FlyQuest, you know Echo Fox, mixed with these teams that are going to come in and you know we’ll see how they do, but we do think it will be a great blend. [50.5] With these new brands we get we have to say goodbye to some old organizations and we kind of have to address, however much you guys can talk about it, the elephant in the room, what surprised the community most was Immortals. This was a team that, to fans were checking a lot of positive boxes. They were competitively successful, had a lot of content creation, some new big hires.

Can you guys give us any insight into why there can sometimes be a discrepancy between how fans see a team and how Riot sees them as potential partners? Sure. That’s a great question.

So first and foremost we think Immortals are a great organization and we wish them well going forward. We can’t speak to specifics around the decision that we made but speaking broadly we had many more applications from quality organizations than we had spots. And when we were looking to make the new league with our new partners, we were trying to find a balance between a few things. One is, as we’ve mentioned previously, we wanted organizations with particular capabilities and experience around the brand building, fan engagement, business building, winning within our scene. And it’s true that some of the organizations that are no longer part of part of the NA LCS had some of those boxes checked. But it was looking at the totality of the applications, looking at this combination of the various pieces almost like how do we Voltron up into the league that we have today.

And it was really tough. And we had lots of debates about it. But we feel like we got to the right balance of endemics and non endemics and also capabilities. And we’re excited to get started. And I think it’s — it’s fair to say it’s understandable why some fans were surprised because a lot of fans do focus on you know a particular thing that’s visible to them.

So you know record you know how well did they do. Are they are they winning like. Did they field a good roster, you know. Maybe their social media or something. And those are things we absolutely considered. But we’re also trying to consider a lot of things that might be invisible to fans or they might not get as much insight to like you know what kind of infrastructure and organization are they building behind the scenes.

You know what is their philosophy and approach to partnership and how well will they work with not just their own players but with other teams, with Riot, et cetera. And and those are just a couple of examples I think that you know there’s been a lot of back and forth with us on Reddit or on other social media platforms about the various things that we that we consider. But I think it’s safe to say that you know while Immortals and a bunch of other teams check some of those boxes, we really felt like that the 10 teams that we picked brings that right diverse group and they all are spiky in certain ways and we think that the the totality of those ownership groups will actually lead to a really healthy league. There was some speculation going around because Phoenix1 and Immortals will both be fielding Los Angeles Overwatch teams. You guys want to address that at all- is the idea that they’ll run LA teams anyway clashing with Riot’s idea of an ideal partner? So I mean I think you just have to look at the fact that we already we have two teams in the league, Optic and Cloud9 that have Overwatch teams, and we consider everything and that is a very small portion of what we consider, because we really want to focus not on other leagues but on the LCS.

You know how will these owners come in and how will they… how well their teams do in 2018. How well will their teams do five years from now, etc. And I think it’s safe to say that we care far more about their plans for League of Legends than any other league, Overwatch included. I will also say I noticed in the announcement, FlyQuest, you guys put a lot of focus on how were kind of revamping.

They’re going to come up with the new logo, more branding efforts, new management. What gives you guys confidence that FlyQuest can revamp and why not apply that philosophy to other teams. Like why not take Envy and give them a new logo and management. Why doesn’t that work for them. So again it goes back to we had really hard choices to make here and we met with the teams and across the board we had really strong applications, really strong interviews from more teams than we had slots for.

When talking about FlyQuest, when talking to that organization, Wes Eadon’s commitment to identifying what they’ve done right, what they’ve done wrong, what they need to change, we found it to be particularly resonant and aligned with where we wanted to go. And so for that reason we chose to double down on working with them. Let’s just talk about Envy for a second. They actually have a huge rivalry with Optic in other esports and TSM vs CLG has been very valuable for the League. Did you guys ever consider the value of adding another rivalry into the League? I mean certainly that’s something that wasn’t lost to us and I know that was when both those teams were announced for Overwatch as well, that was a big thing that they were talking about like that rivalry.

eClasico. Yeah, exactly. And we certainly considered it. But again at the end of the day it’s just the big picture that we’re looking at.

And you know we hope to see more natural rivalries develop. I’m sure that for those NBA fans, it’ll be interesting to see 100 Thieves play against the Guardians. But I do think that you know we’ll see those rivalries develop more because these teams now are going to have more presence. We’re not going to see as much churn out in the bottom and so those will be opportunities for sort of hopefully some new TSM CLG rivalries to exist.

That’s the old we have the new. Three of our four teams are coming from NBA ownership. Why is there so much basketball coming into the league. Is it something about these owners that you guys find attractive or do NBA owners have increased interest in esports?

So I think it’s a few things. I think yes, for one NBA owners have been particularly interested in esports. I think we saw interest from a lot of different professional sports organizations. But the NBA you know I think was probably one of the earliest organizations both at the League level and also at the ownership level to express an interest. I think we started having conversations with Wes Edens over two years ago, Rick Fox.

The NBA itself. Adam Silver came to came to MSG for our for semi. No it was for 2015. That’s right.

Yeah it was NA Summer finals in 2015. So they’ve they’ve been they’ve been active in our particular scene for some time and so I think when this opportunity came about, they were uniquely positioned and had already thought through why they found it attractive, what they thought they could bring to the table. I think the NBA is a relatively forward thinking league and so a lot of what they’re doing probably translates pretty well but mostly it was deep commitment to LoL esports, an understanding of the ecosystem in the example of the Houston Rockets and Clutch Gaming. They were already building towards this before they knew if they were going to have a chance to be in, they hired a head of esports, they were building out there their analytics. They were getting smart so they could come in and be as successful as possible on day one and that was appealing to us whether or not they were an NBA franchise or not.

So I think in some respects it’s a coincidence but in others it’s not because of just the general thinking of the NBA. Also you know these teens are non-endemic. So what during the application process gives you guys the confidence that these teams understand the community, that they can market to them properly? So I mean first and foremost I think that their approach and their humility – that they understand that they don’t get it right off the bat. Right?

I think that right there would be a would be a deal breaker for us if if any organization came and said well we’ve built this thing in this community we can then replicate this community with the same bag of tricks and so I think they were all very aware that they have a lot of catching up to do. You know we like to – you know we’re excited that these new organizations are going to come in and sort of not just level up the league but also teach the sort of the endemic teams, the TSMs and the Cloud9s that have stuck around. That said I think they’re going to have a lot to learn as well. And so that’s the first thing is if they didn’t know that they would have a lot of learning to do we probably wouldn’t be in this situation.

But I think secondly we’ve seen though this track record of appealing to different groups and just like their strategy. And it differs for each team. But generally speaking they all came in with a fairly good strategy on how to do outreach, how to create content, how to position themselves, how to position their players, how to like you know create stars. And so all these things give us confidence that there is a foundational layer of excellence and the track record of excellence. But then there’s the understanding that they’re going to work with the existing teams out there to to level themselves up, work with us to level up, work with other esports orgs out in the — beyond League of Legends to level up and so with that philosophy we think that there is a shot.

And look we understand that some of them will stumble along the way. Right and no one is perfect out the gate but we do think that if we’re trying to think beyond 2018, that you know these new organizations bring far more benefits than the potential stumbles they might have. What are the methods for learning. Obviously they have, you said, a long way to go. They know that they don’t know everything, what are going to be their tactics for invading the community and understanding it. I think hiring is the big one.

Like they’re not just hiring from sort of the traditional pool that they might be hiring for their basketball or you know sports organizations. But you know they’ll be hiring folks from esports with a background in esports. But also you know from other avenues of gaming and so that right there will at least give them the leg up to it to begin having a conversation with the community.

And then I think that if they’re smart, they’ll use that initial leverage to work through their players because a lot of these players are going to be the same players competing maybe just on a different team and I think that that will actually help fans sort of bridge over to the new organizations because what we’ve seen in esports is that you know fandom for a team begins with the player, begins with them streaming or them making big plays or you know hanging out on social media. So I think that the traditional route of build stars and hope that sort of follows to your team brand will probably get it done. What kind of failsafes do we have. Let’s say medium to worst case possibility they’re not getting, they’re not branding well, maybe they’re not very competitive. Do you guys have system where you will fine them, do you have a system whereby you can remove teams?

So I think first and foremost we we wanted to let 10 teams in the league that have the mentality of partnership. So I don’t think anyone’s going to not get it and then not listen to either the other teams or us. We do think that that’s a real key of learning and sort of venturing into the unknown future of esports together. You know that said we did structure it because, honestly we heard from the know fans the concerns around lack of competitiveness at least on the Rift. If a team doesn’t get it in competition, if they consistently underperform, then they’re actually subject to potentially losing their spot in the long run if it’s I think something like five over eight splits if they finish in the bottom two like that could absolutely lead to them losing the right to be in the league.

Also we’ve actually structured it so that not just on a sort of how you finish within the standings perspective but how many fans do you have. All of those actually lead to a slightly higher slightly lower share of the league revenue pool. So there’s a financial incentive to get it as well.

So I think hopefully through a combination of incentives and support we think that these teams can get there. But we do have failsafes just in case this thing doesn’t work because at the end of the day we’re doing this so that the NA LCS is awesome. And so that people want to watch it.

And if there’s a team not getting it, no one neither us or the other nine teams in the League want that team in there. And we tried our best to find teams that were just intrinsically motivated and aligned with what we’re trying to do. And so the hope is that it never even comes to any of those failsafes. Yeah.

Talking to these guys, they want to win. They want a great fanbase. They have track records. They’re very competitive. And so we think it will be fun.

Another hope for all of this is that the fanship market spreads out a bit. The team has said in the past you want more than just TSM fans. How do you guys see fans moving into unfamiliar teams and do you fear that bringing in four new teams will cause people to cluster upward to their familiar old favorites. I think it’s a risk I mean TSM is an incredible brand with an incredible fanbase and it’s going to be a challenge.

It’s already kind of clustered. Yeah. You know it’s pretty it’s clustered I mean Cloud9s got a brief great fanbase.

But TSM, definitely number one in our league. Our partners that we’ve selected that are coming in are up to that challenge and we think now that there’s more permanence and you can invest for the longer term, there’s hope and opportunities for them to sort of win fans over. And I think that we expect that to happen. Whalen mentioned earlier that fans sometimes follow pros.

And so they’re going to get a chance, I think as rosters shift over time, they’re going to get a chance to have fans take a look at them and see what they can do and fans are going to know that they can commit to a team and not worry about that team not being around and so the hope is that over the medium term as things stabilize and teams get wins both on and off the Rift in terms of how they’re engage– how they’re winning on the Rift but also how they’re engaging with fans, the stories that they’re telling, that there’s going to be an opportunity here for organizations to make a real run at the top fan teams like TSM. Let’s talk a little about Clutch City Gaming. They in particular analytics based approach. So we don’t want to dive in any special sauce. We don’t give up any any secrets but that said that’s something that was obviously very compelling. Just looking at that organization, their involvement in analytics and data and just being really smart around sports goes well beyond esports and their involvement in the Sloan Analytics Conference and they actually already have a scouting organization dedicated to League of Legends eports, this is prior to us even greenlighting it.

So they’re really all in, and our hope is that you know this is a different approach that a team is taking which is trying to understand from a data perspective, what does good League of Legends look like. I mean we know that when Faker’s playing that looks — He looks good. But that said how do you know, what are the signals for someone who could potentially become the next great star? And you know if there’s so many players and there’s so much data that’s one of the beautiful things about esports. How do you then parse through all that data come up with an algorithm to determine this player’s on the right trajectory or they have all the signals that they’re going to be a star and then go find that player, scout that player, develop that player. It really takes a long time, which is why we’re excited about this partnership, is that the teams will have the ability to take a multi-year approach to developing talent.

It won’t just be about fighting over the stars but it’ll be about finding the next star so that you can grow them in your organization via the academy teams and all the other sort of methods we’re putting into place. And if Clutch is successful in their approach we think it’s going to raise the bar for the league and others are going to react to it right. So when we were really building that complete picture of who we wanted our partners to be we knew that people were going to bring different strengths and different weaknesses but in total our hope is that they level each other up and they compete and also collaborate.

Let’s talk about the strengths of the other teams. We have in both 100 Thieves and Optic kind of this large FPS fandom coming to League. I’m super excited about Optic. That’s an organization that we learned about through this process, a few people on the team are like deep FPS fans and like oh, Optic’s coming?? And so they’re geeking out. I think that they’ve proven that they can create, similar to TSM, a rabid fan base like support that shows up no matter what.

Any place any time. They may be our second LCS chant. They may be. And so it’ll — it may be the second LCS chant that’s heard when no LCS team is playing. But we’re very excited for them to see how well they can take their experience in shooters and move over to MOBAs and League of Legends.

And similarly you know we actually when meeting with 100 Thieves, meeting with Nadeshot, we were very impressed with just their approach, the authenticity, understanding how to market a brand, create. How to tell stories. We do think that those two are quite interrelated and we think that both of them obviously taking different approaches and coming from places but they share that similar thread.

And then we have Golden Guardians. You can cover that. The strength of Dubnation coming in. So the Golden Guardians — Golden State Warriors I think their success in many respects speaks for itself. They’re a highly sophisticated sports organization that has proven their ability to perform at the highest levels not only on the court where they’ve got a crazy good team but also — Whalen’s a fan. But also off the court in terms of how they think about sponsorships.

If you look at what they’re doing with their new facility that they’re building in San Francisco. Very forward thinking. Joe Lacob, a builder of many businesses, is a venture capitalist. That entire team is very, very capable and when they came in and talked about what they wanted to do and how they saw League of Legends being a part of that journey we got really excited and we think that they are going to, like we were talking about Clutch and like we were talking about the things that Optic brings to the table, we think theyre going to come in and help level up the league overall and thats going to be great for the sport. The other half of this narrative is obviously money. With each of these entrances we’re getting 10, give or take, million dollars which obviously is capital for you guys and the teams to beefen themselves up as you guys start building the franchise.

But in the long term what are what are fans going to see different. How does capital eventually translate into a better fan experience? I mean I think the it’s not necessarily right to focus so much on money, like that matters.

So first off it’s not like we hate money. We think the NA LCS needs to be super successful financially because at the end of the day that flows to pros, that causes teams to invest more, it enables us to do more things which is a virtuous cycle that causes everyone to have a better product and hopefully more fans watch. That said, we’re actually much more excited about the revenue sharing aspect of it because it’s about incentives. We do think that up until now, there have been some teams that have been pretty darn successful in sort of making a business in the league that we had irrespective of promotion relegation or not. But now we’re sort of all in it together right. If the league makes another dollar in its media deal, then everyone wins.

And so we’re incentivized to work together and actually come up with whether it’s jointly going out and getting a sponsor or coming up with new programs for fans or youth outreach. There’s a million different things that we haven’t thought about that require us to work with teams and work with pros to get this done. And so we think that we set up the right structure to incentivize everyone to work together instead of competing against each other, which actually was kind of the system that we were in before where teams are actually competing against other teams and they’re fighting over a set amount of of of pie if you will and it was like OK we’re just really good, we’re going to take all of it. We now hope that by working together we’ll actually grow the pie and then share amongst everyone and so we actually think that’s the right structure, hopefully leading to more money which can actually flow to again teams, pros and make a better league for fans. And some specifics around how that can manifest itself once the the money does arrive and continues to flow.

So we’ve talked about facilities. We’ve talked about you know nutritionist, specialists, you know supporting pros and we think all of those things will lead to longer pro careers hopefully and also hopefully higher competitive play, because you can focus more, there’s more focus on wellness and you can focus more on your profession. Things are more sustainable from a pro lifestyle perspective and all of that stuff matters so the hope is that as the league grows and becomes more successful we’re able to invest in sort of the infrastructure that looks like some of the best professional sports organizations around the world and that leads to a healthier happier longer performing pros and hopefully the NA LCS competing at the highest levels on the Worlds stage for years to come. Ultimately the long term goal all this is increasing viewership. Right now, most of the viewership are players. How saturated is that market right now and where does it go next.

Do we start marketing non-players or do we work under the presumption that the playerbase is going to grow a lot more. So it’s actually not that saturated. I mean the awareness of the LCS is pretty saturated. People know, if you’re playing in a region you know that like hey there’s if I’m in NA if I play League of Legends I know there’s NA LCS. That, generally speaking is accurate but to say that if I play in NA I watch LCS, that’s actually there’s a lot of people who don’t do that yet. And so for a variety of reasons and we do think that it’s a combination of you know is the broadcast and the overall experience appealing.

You know are their friends watching, how can we get more of them watching gather. Lots of avenues that we think we need to explore there. But I do think the focus should be on players or people who have at least played League of Legends. I mean our belief is that the game is super fun to watch. But that’s coming from a people who play a lot of League of Legends.

If you don’t get the nuance of it. It’s harder to enjoy. You sort of have to ask yourself, if someone who has never played League before watches Bjergsen verses Jensen, can they appreciate that. Can they appreciate the subtle movements, the little dodges that Faker does all the time because he can’t get hit with skill shots. All those things, can they appreciate it? And so we think that making sure that the sport is targeted to them is the most important thing because what we’ve seen actually just like little hints of it is that those people will bring in their friends and they’ll be the ones that take the time to explain.

Hey this is awesome! Come check this out. Here’s why this guy is really really good or here’s why you know this matchup is fun or like here’s the history of these two teams. And so if we were to sort of alter the way we either broadcast it or marketed it, it could come across as we’re just going to the to someone who’s never really watched League before or played League before and I think that would actually be a big turn off to a huge percentage of the audience.

Because we don’t want to make decisions that service people who aren’t in our audience we want to basically really invest in our core players and fans and we trust that they will help us radiate outwards. For the people who aren’t quite aware of the what is the sort of saturation of esports viewership in the playership right now roughly? How much growth potential do you think there is there right now? I would say a lot.

I think we have a specific number but we’re in our studies, we think there’s a lot of opportunity, to even with hardcore players. I was just literally at an Apple store and the guy was Diamond, he was helping me. I was like oh did you watch Worlds, he was like ah I didn’t really watch it. was like whaaat.

What do you mean why? Dragon, bro. So I think that there are people who are hardcore like maybe are aware but maybe don’t have a team that they follow. And so that’s on us and that’s on our league to give those those players and those kind of casual fans a reason to tune in more to engage more to follow the stories to care about the individuals. And that’s part of what this partnership opportunity is about is getting the right group of people partnering with us and working on those narratives and that engagement together.

Now we have the permanent partners set. What’s next? Do we look at salary caps, do we look at drafting systems, maybe not those tools specifically. What do we add on to this system to improve it in the future?

I think both of those are really interesting. Interestingly they both require collective bargaining which is something that we don’t have yet in the league. That’s not something we’re necessarily against. We’re starting with the Players Association and giving players the agency to sort of create their own voice and have that voice heard and we’ll work closely with them to chart the path together. But we aspire for the NA LCS to be a premier League in the world period. You know across sports and so if you look at the characteristics of successful sports.

Those are some and there are others. But ultimately what we want to do is create systems and processes and structures that support the mission and the mission is to continue building the league as a great fan experience. And we think that you know having a draft can be super cool right because you get to see who’s coming in and some leagues have made it into like a real piece of entertainment. Like who’s the first draft pick. And then you watch that person.

And then you look back and say oh what was that draft class like and how are they doing. You get Steph Curry moments. Yeah exactly. But that takes but that that requires some things to happen before we can go in that direction. But we’re very open to that.

Some people have asked about geolocation. That’s something that we’re not planning on doing right now because we’re not sure if it’s right for our league and what we’re trying to achieve. But it’s not something that we’re opposed to for any particular reason, we’re always going to be evaluating what makes the most sense for the experience we’re trying to create and then work with our partners to sort of execute it hopefully at a super high level.

Speaking on the Players Association, we haven’t heard about anything about much of it publicly for a while. Is there more going on behind the scenes that we are seeing on the surface? Yeah absolutely. So you may have heard they hired there they elected their leader Hal Biagas.

He’s got great experience in other sports leagues helping with players associations, he even created one. And they’re probably going to ramp up more once the season gets started. But they are fully empowered and funded and we really want them, the players to drive this. And so we’re not attempting to be overly prescriptive about how they run it and we look for that independent voice to emerge and I think as a part of this process once we get the NA LCS up and running in 2018, you’re going to start to see more activity from that organization which we’re really excited about. We’ve intentionally really tried to step back because this is the players thing, like we’ve set it up so it’s theirs not ours. And so while we’d love to give you updates like we actually don’t know everything because this is this is their association so.

We don’t go to those meetings. We go just to ask them questions. Like Bo1s.

Exactly. Looking back at this whole experience, what’s a moment or something that has surprised you. An expectation you had that got shattered.

I think first and foremost I mean this has been a lengthy process and I think the amount that our team has learned from all of the applicants has been I think in some way surprising just from very narrow legal things that we’ve learned over the course of time to actually some of the ideas that both the teams that are getting in and some of the teams that were just applying had for the league. It’s been really cool to see what happens when there are really sophisticated organizations looking at the NA LCS going, this is what it could be. Dreaming big with us, having some ideas.

Some great, some crazy. But at the end of the day, that’s kind of how you come up with some pretty cool ideas. And I think that our teams learned a bunch from this experience. And I think it’ll be great because this is just again one league around the world and I don’t think franchising is necessarily coming to all leagues but I do think that it’s an important level up of League of Legends esports like our capability to be league operators.

And and so I think that that will make us better as well. I would just add to that that it was really encouraging to see how many people organizations etc. like believed in the vision and wanted to be a part of it and that’s a testament to all the players who have come through the league.

All the teams who have operated in the league, everyone who’s been on the operations side or the marketing side and doing the work to get it to this point, and we’re just excited to have folks who are ready to kind of help us take it to the next level. We talked a lot about the pains of this process the challenges of this process, and obviously the community feels that as well. What are we going to say when we look back at this in a year or five years about why this process was worth it. Well hopefully, don’t know, but hopefully in five years we’ll look back and see that this process laid the foundation for what the NA LCS was able to grow and become. And hopefully you’ll see things where you’ll have a thriving players organization with successful pros who are aspirational figures for a new generation that are coming in to play the game and will have a process either through a draft or other means like it evolves scouting grounds into Academy league, the academy teams to get them to get them into the league.

And there’ll be rabid fans of of all the teams who will be dedicated in following those actions both on and off the Rift. It will be economically sustainable. So you’ll have investments happening and also being returned so people can feel more comfortable investing even more to help create even more incredible experiences and ultimately all that leads to a sport that rewards fans for their investment and commitment to us going– to the sport going all the way back to the start. And I think if that happens this decision and these partners will have been a big part of it. Two years ago, a Riot Pls published, wherein you guys talked about long term vision, and in it you said you want to see League of Legends follow people for generations, similar to basketball or soccer.

What will be the metric that you guys see where you can say that you have achieved that. I think we like to talk about leaving a mark and leaving an impact. So you know I think a very direct way of measuring something is you know, if you stop playing League of Legends do you still watch, are you still a fan. That’s our hope, that’s our belief is that you don’t have to actually play League of Legends to enjoy watching the League of Legends esport. I think both are both are cool but at the same time if we can create a sports league that is worthy of your time even you don’t play the game, that’s awesome.

But at the end of the day, even if you stop becoming a fan and you drift off, and even if the league ends up only lasting 10, 20 years instead of generations, we hope that if you were with us when you watched Worlds, or you went to an NA LCS show, or you saw a crazy play or had an epic moment with a friend, that that moment lives with you. We’re all gamers, so we know that there are a few games and a few moments you still vividly remember. So we hope that we can create a league that has the sort of impact — that sort of follows you down down that path even once you’ve long stopped engaging and so that’s kind of our hope.

If we can do that then I think that we’ve created something powerful and given it our best shot. And we appreciate the community’s patience as we work through this process. We know it was a long one but hopefully it’s worth the wait and that we demonstrate that as a league once we get started in January.