.Riot Games has announced the dissolution of the Oceanic Pro League after the region did not meet set goals. Additionally, the North American game developer has also closed its Sydney office. The studio focused mostly on operating the league instead of development.
— Oceanic Pro League (@OPL) October 7, 2020
Riot Games dissolves Oceanic Pro League
“At Riot Games, we want to build competitive and sustainable leagues that drive commercial growth and fan engagement and that support professional play as a full-time career,” Riot Games wrote in a statement. “Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of our teams and players, the OPL has not met our goals for the league, and we do not believe that the market is currently able to support the league in its current form.”
Riot Games attributed this change to the Oceanic Pro League not meeting goals. This most likely refers to the low viewership of the region. The Twitch channel saw an average of 2,939 viewers tuning in during the past year, with a peak of just over 27,000 in June 2020. In comparison, the same channel had an average of 3,679 viewers in 2019. Nevertheless, it seemed like Riot Games did not have a positive outlook for the region.
Oceanic Players to North America?
The Oceanic Pro League was founded in 2015 and consists of 8 teams from Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Similar to other regions, the winners of the Spring Split and Summer Split would qualify for the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) and World Championship, respectively. The OPL most recently saw teams competing that included Chiefs Esports Club, Dire Wolves, Legacy Esports, ORDER, MAMMOTH, Gravitas, Avant Gaming, and Pendant.
However, the disbanding of the OPL does not mean the end of the careers for Australian professional players. Riot Games has added the Oceanic region to the competitive territory of the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS). This means that these players will no longer take up an import slot on LCS rosters, something currently enforced so that North American teams can only have two foreign players. Qualifying tournaments for MSI and Worlds will also be held in the Oceanic region. These tournaments will ensure that teams are represented at international events.