eSports fever sweeps London as League of Legends comes to town

The League of Legends World Championship Quarter Finals took place in London’s Wembley SSE Arena over the past four days, bringing tens of thousands of fans together – and many more watching online.

The scale of the event shows that PC gaming is far from the niche it was years ago.

Fans dressed up as their favourite in-game characters (one spent 1,000 hours making an incredibly detailed outfit), spent hundreds of pounds on merchandise on-site and created their own banners to show their support. Some even flew from as far as Canada to attend.

The noise from within the stadium was incredible. Fans roared and stamped their feet in the arena, chanting for their favourite eSports teams.

In the press area, journalists from around the world – China, Korea, the US and across Europe – gathered to interview the star players and write match reports and analysis.

After the matches, crowds of fans waited outside the arena, the nearby hotel (and even Tesco) to catch a glimpse of their favourite professional gamer or to meet them.

Even the BBC was in attendance, covering the event online very well indeed, cutting out the jargon to appeal to people who may not know much about the League of Legends game or eSports in general. The BBC had respected presenter and gaming journalist Julia Hardy interviewing players, teams, fans and more.

Of course, PCR was there too, speaking to players, fans and industry executives (editor Dominic Sacco also covers UK eSports on his own personal blog here).

Jason Yeh, head of EU eSports at League of Legends developer Riot Games, told PCR: "I think it’s amazing to see BBC here. I think having partners like BBC not only do live broadcasts, but create other content around eSports, helping players get a better understanding around who the players and teams are, and why should people care about them – that’s only going to help.

"Leveraging their online or TV platform is a great way to deliver this content and entertainment to hopefully more players, and more League players will hopefully make eSports kind of a part of their regular experience."

PC gaming vendors and sponsors benefited from the event, with their logos promoted on players’ shirts, seen by potentially millions online.

Michael O’Dell, manager of UK-based pro eSports organisation Team Dignitas, was also visiting the event.

He added: "To see gaming events of this size in this country is great and I want to support it. We still have the stigma of being gamers in this country – but tournaments and stadiums are becoming the norm now, I want to see eSports grow here further.”

You can check out a video interview with Riot Games’ Jason Yeh on his views on UK eSports here: 

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