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I predict a riot: esports tournament in Melbourne

Melbourne will get a taste of stadium tournament esports in November - AFL,esports
Melbourne will get a taste of stadium tournament esports in November

MELBOURNE will play host to an esports stadium tournament in November, with the AFL partnering with Riot Games for the first time.

The all-star match will see League of Legends: League of Origin played. Professional competitors will be drawn from the Oceanic Pro League and represent their home states.

A venue and date will be confirmed in the next several weeks.

Further to that, an esports studio will be built in Melbourne as part of the AFL and Riot Games' push to develop League of Legends locally.

League of Legends involves two teams, each consisting of five champions, battling across different battlefields. More than 100 million people around the world play the game every month.

"Esports is one of the most exciting emerging industries to come in and disrupt the traditional sports landscape. Riot are a respected and credible leader in this space and this event will be a great opportunity to continue on that path," AFL growth, digital and audience manager Darren Birch said.

"We will bring our expertise and insight to the competition, giving all-star players an opportunity to play with different teams, play in a different tournament structure and in a radically different venue environment.

"Our vision is to progress the game of AFL and continue to help fans share in the experience of footy. Working with Riot is one step towards us learning new ways to connect with fans and enhance the complete digital experience.

"We're excited to continue to learn and lead in this space with our new partner, Riot, and to work with our two AFL clubs already in this space – Adelaide Crows and Essendon Bombers – to build out player pathways and opportunities."

Riot Games head of Oceanic esports Daniel Ringland expressed optimism about the partnership.

"The AFL is a world-class league and leads Australian sport in many key areas. From fan engagement through to player welfare and development, they're the gold standard," Ringland said.

"We aspire to the same levels of excellence for our pro players and fans of League of Legends esports, so a strategic partnership makes absolute sense.

"The AFL and Riot are culturally aligned, both being firm believers in putting the fan and player experience first. We're excited to be paving the way for esports fans in Oceania."