Riot Games has announced that the Oceanic Pro League (OPL) and Riot’s Sydney office will be shutting down.
The OPL started five years ago with a goal to build a competitive and sustainable league to drive both commercial growth and fan engagement in the region. Sadly, the OPL never turned into the league that Riot had hoped for and will now be shutting down after not meeting its goals.
— Oceanic Pro League (@OPL) October 7, 2020
“Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of our teams and players, the OPL has not met our goals for the league,” Riot Games said in its statement. “We do not believe that the market is currently able to support the league in its current form,”.
While the biggest league in the Oceanic region is closing, Riot will continue to support the pro players of the region. Teams such as Legacy Esports, ORDER, Dire Wolves, and others are now without a league to play in, but the players may now get a chance in the LCS.
Riot will be removing the import rule for all Oceanic players in the LCS, which means that they will no longer take up an import slot. LCS rosters can currently only have two imported players on the roster, so this opens up for new opportunities in 2021.
Players including Golden Guardian’s Ian “FBI” Huang and Tommy “Ryoma” Le have already been given the chance in the LCS. FBI especially has been performing well throughout 2020 and has proven that a player from the Oceanic region can succeed in North America. 2021 might be the year where even more Oceanic players will enter the North American league.
It’s fair to assume that only the absolute best players from the OPL will get a chance in the LCS, but the rest will still have something to fight for. Riot assures that they will be hosting qualifying tournaments in OCE for both the World Championship and Mid-Season Invitational in 2021, to make sure that the region is still represented on the international stage.