The 2023 League of Legends World Championship is less than three months away, with the opening round of the tournament kicking off on October 10 at League of Legends Park in Seoul, South Korea, a facility designed specifically for the event.
22 teams from around the world will face off for a chance at gaming immortality over the course of six weeks this fall in the thirteenth year of this annual event, all competing to hoist the 70 pound Summoner’s Cup trophy and rake in millions in prize money.
Commonly known as Worlds among fans of the esports, tickets are set to go online in three waves, each wave composed of various stages of the tournament. The first two waves of tickets already opened on July 10 and July 19, respectively, with ticket sales for the final stage of the tournament set to open on August 2.
Round by Round
Here’s a look at how each round of the tournament works. The opening round, formally known as the Play-In Stage, is the quickest round of the tournament, taking place between October 10 and 15. The Play-In consists of a round robin tournament that will help determine the final slate of 16 teams. While the competition opens with 22 teams, only eight of those teams will take part in the opening round.
For those who aren’t familiar with the round robin style, it’s a double elimination bracket event where the first two teams to reach three wins advance into the second round of the world championship.
Even if a team loses in the first or second set of matches in the play-in round, they still have a chance at redemption in the losers bracket: teams get set home if they lose two matches in the round, or if they lose in the finals to one of the teams that manages to advance
Esports events are known for their unpredictability (and the round robin format helps contribute to that reputation), and fans are eagerly waiting to see if any underdog teams can rise to the occasion and challenge the favorites.
In Arizona, the esports scene has flourished, with numerous local tournaments and events showcasing talented players. As the anticipation builds, sports enthusiasts are already speculating about the odds and potential outcomes of the tournament.
The second round of the tournament (often called the Swiss or group stage) is a triple-elimination bracket designed to narrow the field to a slate of eight final competitors, and it will also determine seeding for the final stage.
There’s something to be said for winning early, as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds will only have to play in three different series (two best of one games and a best of three clincher). Teams that aren’t able to ice the game away in the early stages will go through a grueling slate of one or two more best of three series, leaving them with tired thumbs ahead of the finals.
The final stage consists of a knockout round, a slate of best of five series that will leave behind a world champion when the dust settles.
Teams to Watch
We have some time to go before the tournament begins, but Chinese team JD Gaming is already expected to be a heavy favorite with odds as high as -1100. They took care of business at the Mid-Season Invite in May, and it’s needless to say that they’re hungry for more in their seventh year of operation.
With odds that high, it would be a shock if another team manages to swipe victory away from JDG… but that’s what the esports is known for.
While the answer to this question goes without saying for fans of League of Legends and other video games, it’s still a common one for those who aren’t as familiar with how these leagues operate.
While it may be some time before Arizona hosts any LoL tournaments of this high of a profile, the advent of e-sports betting means that the sport can still have a massive impact here at home.
With matches taking place around the world on a 24-7 basis (and a much faster turnaround than traditional sports: while an NFL team couldn’t be ready for another game moments after taking part in a 60-minute contest, video games have no such constraints), we’re only just beginning to scratch the surface of economic potential for the budding market.
The 2022 World Championship reached a peak of more than five million concurrent viewers during the deciding-match, roughly on par with the NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals, and with dozens of contests taking place across several weeks, there’s nonstop action for fans and bettors alike.
It’s an incredibly exciting time to be a fan of e-sports, as the added attention that the betting market brings means that even those who aren’t huge gaming fans will keep an eye on the proceedings. For a competition in its relative infancy compared to entrenched sports like soccer and football, it’ll be fascinating to see how the game continues to grow in the coming years.