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American Express to sponsor LCS Season 3 and Staples Center final: "We're stepping up and saying this is no longer niche"

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American Express to sponsor LCS Season 3 and Staples Center final: "We're stepping up and saying this is no longer niche"

League of Legends’ osmosis into mainstream culture continues today with the sponsorship and endorsement of the US’s foremost invisible money people. The deal is exactly the kind American Express typically strike with traditional sporting organisations.

“Just as you see American Express at the US Open or LA Kings hockey games at the Staples Center," says the company’s vice president of Enterprise Growth, Ian Swanson, “you'll see us at LCS."

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LCS "a significant investment that we’re not making money from", but Riot love it anyway

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LCS "a significant investment that we’re not making money from", but Riot love it anyway

The third season of Riot’s League of Legends Championship Series is coming to a head now that regular season play has concluded, and the developers' focus has shifted to the postseason and planning for Season Four. We caught up with Riot’s eSports head Dustin Beck at Gamescom, where the International Wildcard tournament and European playoffs begin later this week, to talk about where the LCS is at right now.

First and foremost, it is still a work in progress whose connection to the core League of Legends business model is “tough to measure". While Riot won’t say how much running the LCS costs them, Beck did say that, “It’s a significant investment that we’re not making money from. It’s an investment into the game, for our fans, just like we’d invest in any other feature within the game. It’s a worthwhile thing for us to do because it’s such a high quality, engaging experience for our fans."

Whatever the cost, Beck and Riot are happy with how much League has evolved this year, and where it is headed next.

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The League of Legends Championship Series: the perfect entry point into eSports

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The League of Legends Championship Series: the perfect entry point into eSports

We are three weeks into the League of Legends Championship Series’, a six month long League of Legends competition hosted, organized, and produced by Riot Games. While the LCS is still undergoing development as Riot’s production gets more sophisticated and adds new features, the scale of the endeavor and the control Riot exert over it are breathtaking. It’s unparalleled in PC gaming and eSports history: the developer of what is possibly the most widely-played PC game in the world is managing every aspect of the eSports they created. It requires massive investment in every stage of the process: high-end production, great casters, team salaries, and a multi-million dollar prize pool.

The result: and eSport that makes sense. If you’ve ever wanted a perfect entry point into the eSports scene, the League Championship series is it.

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Riot clarify "tournament-in-a-box" offline mode, stress that League of Legends LAN play is not in the works

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Riot clarify "tournament-in-a-box" offline mode, stress that League of Legends LAN play is not in the worksDuring Riot’s press day prior to the League of Legends championship final, Riot VP of eSports Dustin Beck addressed the connectivity problems that derailed the semifinals at LA Live the previous weekend. He explained that immediately after the disastrous series between CLG EU and World Elite, a team of Riot developers started working around-the-clock to develop what they call a “tournament-in-a-box" offline mode for the final.

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Riot reschedule League of Legends Season 2 playoffs, change venue for finals

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Riot reschedule League of Legends Season 2 playoffs, change venue for finals

What was intended to be Sunday’s Season 2 quarterfinals finally concluded after eight hours of connection drops without victor, nor any reward for the series of hard-fought half-games its teams engaged in. Eventually Riot made the call to postpone the games until they had found a “new venue with a secure internet connection". Two days on, they’ve found their venue.

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Riot squash rumours of Season Three team exclusivity demand: “We believe our initiative and investment in eSports will help every competitive game.”

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Riot squash rumours of Season Three team exclusivity demand: “We believe our initiative and investment in eSports will help every competitive game.”

In the last few days, Riot Games have been accused of pushing teams to pick between League of Legends, Dota 2 and Heroes of Newerth; both Dignitas manager Odee and Riot themselves denied the rumours. Now Riot have sought to end what they describe as “a big miscommunication between Riot and a few teams".

“We are not requiring team organizations to be exclusive to League of Legends, period," said the developer.

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League of Legends’ Curse NA and Team Dignitas disqualified from MLG Summer Championship, no first or second place awarded

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League of Legends’ Curse NA and Team Dignitas disqualified from MLG Summer Championship, no first or second place awardedThe top two teams in MLG’s League of Legends Summer Championship, Curse NA and Team Dignitas, have been disqualified for collusion after the event’s final.

Both teams reportedly agreed to play ARAM in the first round of the final, and planned to split the prize money equally - although Team Curse continues to deny the latter as mere “allegation".

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Riot reveal pro-league League of Legends Championship Series, aim to make LoL a “sustainable career choice” for professionals

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Riot reveal pro-league League of Legends Championship Series, aim to make LoL a “sustainable career choice” for professionalsToday League of Legends takes its biggest step yet towards becoming an organised Esport, with the announcement of developer Riot Games’ own Championship Series - a professional gaming league, supporting teams from Europe, Asia and the US. There’ll be season matches played weekly, streamed and available to watch globally for free.

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