On March 9, Riot Games made an update to their North American community competition guidelines. These changes mainly affect the amateur and collegiate League of Legends scenes — but in severe ways.
We have released new tournament guidelines for LoL tournament organizers in North America. There is a specific call out for College and High School tournaments at the bottom, I recommend all TO's check them out. https://t.co/6WM8Ll888n
— Michael Sherman (@RiotSherman) March 10, 2020
How the new community competition guidelines affect the collegiate scene
The initial response to the updated community competition guidelines has been overwhelmingly negative, and understandably so. Riot Games has done very little so far to support the collegiate League of Legends scenes across North America. With the recent updates to the guidelines, it will be even more difficult for colleges to run their competitions.
Three main aspects are affecting the future of the North American collegiate scene. These are the yearly prize pool limitations, the entry fee limitations, and the biggest one — the limitation of event partners and sponsors.
The total value of your prize pool, including cash value of non-cash prizes, across all events you organize in a calendar year may not exceed $10,000 USD (or its equivalent in CAD).
The $10,000 limit is the least worrying update of the new community competition guidelines. However, this change still affects the future of the North American collegiate scene as it continues to expand. The main events affected by this are the intercollegiate competitions run by students and organizers around the country.
You may charge a small entry fee of no more than $20 USD (or its equivalent in CAD) for each player, which must be used solely to help offset the Competition Costs or towards the Competition’s prize pool.
The other way these larger-scale tournaments are affected is by the new $20 entry fee. Mainly the larger-scale college-supported tournaments are going to be significantly impacted by this change. An entry fee of a maximum of $100 per team significantly limits the scale at which the League of Legends events can be organized.
Limiting event sponsors and partners
A singular brand may sponsor no more than three (3) events within a given Calendar Year. You may not sell naming rights to an event such that the sponsor/partner appears first (e.g. BrandX League of Legends Tournament).
In North America, naming rights are big business. The limitation of this aspect of event sponsoring is a significant blow to the grassroots events hosted across the country. In addition to the rule change of naming rights, a long list of businesses can no longer sponsor the collegiate competitions.
Just some of the banned topics and brands include:
- Any video game competitors, console, game development or otherwise.
- Anything related to gambling, sports betting or casinos.
- Anything related to prescription drugs, regular drugs, tobacco & tobacco products, alcohol products, and even cannabinoid extracts such as CBD oil.
- All sponsors related to politics. Including charities endorsing particular religious or political positions.
- Anything related to firearms, including ammunition and firearm accessories
The list includes several more broad topics, leaving very few organizations open to sponsoring these local events.
What these changes could mean for the future of the collegiate scene
Between all the dislike of the new changes, there is an angle many people haven’t yet considered. Riot Games reining in collegiate organizations could mean they are planning on becoming a lot more involved themselves in the upcoming years. Now that collegiate esports is a proven concept, it makes sense for Riot Games to want in on the action. There is a good chance, speaking speculatively, that in the next few weeks there is going to be an announcement regarding this topic. One possibility of this is expanding the states PlayVS is active in, as this is currently limited to only 14 of the 50 states.
For more League of Legends news, be sure to read all about the 2020 Mid-Season Invitational being delayed until July.