The Early Days of Professional League of Legends

League of Legends has asserted its dominance in the global e-sports community. With millions of viewers and players today, it is clear how successful the game has become. However, it was not always like this.


Like many other e-sports games, LoL developed into its success. It did not become a global sensation within a few short days. Instead, it took time and patience to gain popularity in its initial market, and it required skilled marketing decisions to expand into a worldwide audience. 


Of course, the game would take off to become a massive part of the global e-sport community, which allows gamers to play professionally. 


Let’s look at how League of Legends started as an ordinary game that developed to be a global phenomenon that has formed a potential career path for young gamers.  


The Creation of League of Legends


In October of 2009, Riot Games released League of Legends, the multiplayer online battle arena game inspired by the popular computer strategy mod game, Defense of the Ancients. 


The first competitions consisted of online LAN events, which were hosted by ESL, MLG, and more. The first teams came primarily from North America and Europe. Therefore, there was somewhat of a global market that had not yet reached all continents. 


The First World Championship


The first major competition for LoL took place in 2011. Officially, it was the Season on League of Legends World Championship with a $100,000 prize pool. Taking place in Sweden, the competition attracted 1.69 million viewers. 


There were eight participants, which included the three best teams from North America and Europe, as well as a team from Singapore and a team from the Philippines.


The first winner of a LoL World Championship was Fnatic, which went two to one to beat Against All Authority.  


Expanding Outside North America and Europe


After the participation of the first World Championship, Riot Games realized the success LoL could have on a more diverse international scale. Moreover, it launched the game in Korea and China, where it was well-received. 


Riot Games went even further for Season two and launched two League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) in Europe and North America. Essentially, these were regional leagues where gamers could compete and play LoL professionally. Not only did this expand the game to even more players, but it also expanded the professional competition of LoL. 


These two leagues eventually underwent branding changes in 2018. Now, there are twelve professional leagues headquartered around the globe. 


The Routine Winners of the Early Days


After the establishment of regional professional leagues, some regions became more successful. The standout area being South Korea, which had unmatched skills and the most competitive leagues in the world. 


League of Legends Competitions of Today and Tomorrow 


Since its launch in 2009, Riot Games has expanded its professional LoL leagues to promote the most talented players of the game. Riot Games announced an average salary being $75,000 for LCS players in 2013. As the game continues to grow, this average income can only rise proportionately to the game’s success.