League of Legends Academy: 108
League of Legends was released in 2011 as a premiere Esport to replace Dota as the main MOBA on the market. While it hasn’t completely removed Dota from the map, League has become established as one of the best games of all-time and a top Esport to this day.
Since its inception, Riot Games has been dedicated to the competitive scene in regards to League of Legends. They have held competitive tournaments since the release of the game, and it has grown into the most popular Esport in the world. It began with the World Championship in 2011 and has morphed into an international league with an annual tournament that has as many viewers as playoff football games for the NFL.
Teams compete for the champion title, the 70-pound Summoner’s Cup, and a multi-million-dollar championship prize. In 2018, the finals were watched by 99.6 million people, breaking 2017’s finals’ viewer record. The tournament has been praised for its ceremonial performances while receiving attention worldwide due to its multiple dramatic and emotional series. A donation of US$2 million was raised through the sales of the World’s 2017 Championship Ashe skin alone.
|2012||Taipei Assasins||2,000,000||Los Angeles, United States|
|2013||SK Telecom T1||2,050,000||Los Angeles, United States|
|2014||Samsung White||2,130,000||Seoul, South Korea|
|2015||SK Telecom T1||2,130,000||Berlin, Germany|
|2016||SK Telecom T1||5,070,000||Los Angeles, United States|
|2017||Samsung Galaxy||4,946,969||Beijing, China|
|2018||Invictus Gaming||6,450,000||Incheon, South Korea|
|2019||FunPlus Phoenix||2,225,000||Paris, France|
2011 Winner: Fnatic
Location: Jonkoping, Sweden
Prize Pool: $100,000
The first-ever World Championship took place in 2011, less than two years after the release of the game. The event took place in Jonkoping, Sweden, and the hometown team, Fnatic was able to secure the victory as an underdog over some of the other favorites such as SK Telecom and Samsung White. Fnatic has been a mainstay in the League scene since day one, and it all began with this victory.
2012 Winner: Taipei Assassins
Location: Los Angeles, United States
Prize Pool: $2,000,000
The second World Championship took place in the summer of 2012 at the home of Riot Games in Los Angeles, where the competition increased greatly as the prize pool took a big monetary jump. The Tapei Assassins, a Taiwanese national team, ended up winning the whole thing and began the run of the dominance of Asian teams in the League scene.
Twelve qualifying teams from around the world participated in the championship, which boasted the largest prize pool in the history of e-sports tournaments at the time at US$2 million, with US$1 million going to the champions. The group stage, quarter-final, and semi-final matches took place between 4 and 6 October. The grand final took place a week after, on 13 October at the University of Southern California’s Galen Center in front of 10,000 fans, and was broadcast in 13 different languages.
Over 8 million viewers tuned in to the Season 2 World Championship broadcast, with a maximum of 1.1 million concurrent viewers during the grand final, making the Season 2 World Championship the most-watched esports event in history at the time
2013 Winner: SK Telecom T1
Location: Los Angeles, United States
Prize Pool: $2,050,000
The third World Championship took place in the summer of 2013 at the home of Riot Games in Los Angeles. SK Telecom was able to take its first world championship after falling short years prior. Telecom began one of the most dominant and successful runs in Esports history beginning with the 2013 World Championship, and Faker, the best league player of all-time, cemented himself as the best player in the world.
The Season 3 World Championship grand final broadcast on 4 October was watched by 32 million people with a peak concurrent viewership of 8.5 million. The numbers once again beat the previous records for esports viewership, showing that League has been at the top for almost a decade.
2014 Winner: Samsung White
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Prize Pool: $2,130,000
The fourth World Championship took place in the summer of 2014 at the home of Riot Games in Berlin. Samsung White was able to take its first world championship after falling short years prior. Samsung had played second fiddle to SK Telecom for the majority of League of Legends as the two main powerhouses in South Korea. Samsung was finally able to win a major championship and establish itself as an international power along with SK Telecom.
American band Imagine Dragons contributed the theme song “Warriors” for the tournament and performed live on the grand final stage in South Korea. All games were made available for free via live streaming.
The 2014 World Championship games were streamed live by 40 broadcast partners and cast in 19 languages. The grand final was watched by 27 million people, with concurrent viewership peaking at over 11 million viewers
2015 Winner: SK Telecom T1
Location: Berlin, Germany
Prize Pool: $2,130,000
The fifth World Championship took place in the summer of 2015 at the home of Riot Games in Los Angeles. SK Telecom was able to take its second world championship in three years. Telecom built off its success in the South Korean league and previous major tournaments. Faker continued his dominance over the rest of the teams in the world as T1 waltzed to another World’s victory.
The 2015 World Championship concluded the 2015 season and was held at several venues across Europe in October 2015. Like the 2014 World Championship, the 2015 World Championship was a multi-city, multi-country event. 2015 Worlds was won by SK Telecom T1, their second title, as they won the 2013 Worlds too. SKT top laner Jang “Marin” Gyeong-Hwan was named the tournament most valuable player The finals were watched by 36 million people, with a peak concurrent viewership of 14 million viewers
2016 Winner: SK Telecom T1
Location: Los Angeles, United States
Prize Pool: $5,070,000
The sixth World Championship took place in the summer of 2016 at the home of Riot Games in Los Angeles. SK Telecom was able to take its third world championship in 4 years. Telecom cemented themselves as a dynasty with this victory, showing that they were one of the best Esports teams of all-time, regardless of the game. Faker and company dominated the field and cemented themselves as the best lineup in League history.
SKT won 3-2 vs. Samsung Galaxy in the 2016 World Championship Finals, with Faker winning the MVP award, and along with teammate Bengi captured their third world championship in four seasons (2013, 2015, 2016), cementing SKT’s legacy as the most dominant League of Legends team in the world. The finals were watched by 43 million people, with a peak concurrent viewership of 14.7 million viewers, breaking 2015’s finals’ viewer records
2017 Winner: Samsung Galaxy
Location: Beijing, China
Prize Pool: $4,946,969
The 7th World Championship took place in the summer of 2017 at the home of Riot Games in Los Angeles. Samsung Galaxy was able to secure the second World Championship in the history of the team and the first under their new name. It was a 5th straight victory for a South Korean team at Worlds, showing their dominance over the rest of the world.
Samsung Galaxy reversed the previous year’s result and defeated SK Telecom T1 3-0 in the 2017 World Championship Finals. Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk, the AD carry of Samsung, was named MVP. The finals were watched by 60 million people, breaking 2016’s finals’ viewer records. The tournament is widely praised for its high quality of plays and amazing ceremonial performances while receiving worldwide attention for its dramatic and emotional series. It is currently the most-watched tournament in League of Legends’ history and is lauded as one of the best.
2018 Winner: Invictus Gaming
Location: Incheon, South Korea
Prize Pool: $6,450,000
The 8th World Championship took place in the summer of 2018 at the home of Riot Games in Los Angeles. Invictus Gaming was able to take the championship out of South Korea’s hands and returned the championship to China. Invictus remains one of the best teams in the world to this day and is atop the Chinese scene for League of Legends.
Notably, champions Aatrox, Alistar, and Urgot were extremely prevalent in the tournament, with the three characters being picked or banned in over 90% of the 78 games played. The World Championship Finals were played between Invictus Gaming and Fnatic. Invictus Gaming won 3-0 against Fnatic, granting China and the LPL their first World Championship. Gao “Ning” Zhenning was named the MVP of the series in their victory. The finals were watched by 99.6 million unique viewers, with concurrent viewership reaching a peak of 44 million viewers, breaking 2017’s finals’ viewership record.
2019 Winner: FunPlus Phoenix
Location: Paris, France
Prize Pool: $2,225,000
The 9th World Championship took place in the summer of 2019 at the home of Riot Games in Los Angeles. FunPlus Phoenix got hot and was able to go on a historic run at the 2019 World Championship to win it all as an underdog. They were the 3rd different Chinese team to win it and kept the trophy in China for another year. They do not look like contenders for the title in 2020, but they still have a chance to win it all after what they did last year.
The 2019 World Championship was played on Patch 9.19 from start to finish. The World Championship Finals were played on November 10th, 2019 between LPL’s FunPlus Phoenix and LEC’s G2 Esports at AccorHotels Arena in Paris. FunPlus Phoenix won 3-0 against G2 Esports, granting China and the LPL back-to-back World Championships. Gao “Tian” Tianliang was named the MVP of the series in their victory.