The Esports Off-Season Finally Feels Important
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As I sit here spamming refresh on twitter and esports news sites, I can’t help but think about how things have changed in a year. I consider the esports off-season to span from Thanksgiving to New Years. Now of course, there are still tournaments happening, but this feels like the off-season. The major leagues aren’t running, most world championships have been held, and everyone is preparing for the holiday break.
However, this year something feels different. The off-season is exciting! As a big League of Legends fan, I’m enjoying every minute of roster mania. Wondering who is going to end up where. Which team will emerge as a contender? What will the returning legacy names look like? I’m not sure why it’s this year where the excitement of the off-season really set in. There’s not a lot different from last year honestly.
Last year had an exciting world championship. Last year had the franchised LCS. Last year had a lot of movement in free agency. So why is it this year that I’m treating the off-season the same way I do the NFL? Where any little bit of news about my team sends me scrambling to Google to find any information I can?
I’m not sure I have a great answer, other than I’m more invested in League of Legends and esports. But that’s important. Things like the NFL draft and free agency window didn’t become popular overnight. They were built on the backs of a rabid fan-base so dedicated to the league that they would consume any content they could get. It means a ton to see esports start reaching that same level.
Not only is it a big step for esports, but also for companies like Riot and Blizzard. To keep people interested during the off-season says a great deal about the staying power of their games. Indeed as competitive League of Legends enters its 10th season, it’s reaching a wider and more ravenous audience than ever before. So now that free agency is going strong, we just need to get the draft figured out. Looking at you Riot, make it happen!