Riot is partnering with Coke Zero to run a league for the Challenger tier of competitive pay in League of Legends. The currently unnamed league will begin in 2014 in North America and Europe only and will run alongside next years League of Legends Championship Series (LCS).
The goal is to give an underdog side story to the LCS, zeroing in on aspiring pros working for a spot in the big leagues.
“Amateur players aspiring to go pro will now compete in weekly matchups broadcasted live on lolesports.com to fans around the globe. Running in parallel with the LCS season, the challenger series pits top-ranked teams from the Ranked 5s Challenger Tier against one another. At the conclusion of the series, the highest placed teams will join us live to play in a championship tournament for a shot at the LCS.”
Riot runs the top level of competitive play in League of Legends: The Championship Series, which they announced last summer. For a select amount of teams in the upper tier of the competition the eSport is a career with paid salaries via Riot, below that come the Challenger tier with the five ladders of armature League players following behind.
Riot and Coke Zero hope that their new league will prepare Challenger players to move onto the upper tier.
“This is the platform for players and teams to get noticed, right? The pros are going to have a deep bench of people to look for if they want to go recruit a star player on a [Challenger] team. And then there’s going to also be teams that are challenging in the promotion series to see if they can crack the [LCS] scene,” Dustin Beck, head of eSports at Riot explained.
“It’s just such an incredible story of the pursuit of possibility, in terms of amateurs in a challenger system being able to get on an organized road to the pros,” said Matt Wolf, head of global gaming for Coca-Cola, during the same interview.
At this point Riot and Coke Zero aren’t giving details on the league’s structure or the nature of Coke Zero’s support for Challenger players.
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