League of Legends’ Rift Rivals has effectively been canned for many of the world’s regions.
In a press release on the Oceania League of Legends site, Riot Games declared it would be discontinuing all but two of the Rift Rivals regional tournaments. Competitions between North America and Europe, as well as LPL/LCK/LMS events, will continue. Events featuring other regions including Oceania, Japan, and more will not be returning.
Riot Games cited poor viewership and higher operational costs compared to typical seasons of competitive play for the discontinuation of Rift Rivals in most regions. Oceania esports lead Chris “Belquin” Schubert offered that Riot Games Oceania believes that its efforts would be better placed strengthening the region’s base professional league.
“After weighing the pros and cons and discussing this with each of our regions, we felt this change to Rift Rivals was the right one to make for the long term health of our sport,” Belquin said.
Riot Games Oceania also promised that it would shift the focus previously placed on Rift Rivals towards university and high school leagues as well as other grassroots initiatives that might help to further develop the region.
Belquin stressed that the decision to end Rift Rivals was not one taken lightly.
“The event was exciting for our region and for the teams, players, and fans involved. However the compelling rivalry still never really eventuated…and the viewership was similar to a regular round of the OPL, but came at a significantly higher operational cost,” Belquin said.
Last year’s competition took place in Sydney, Australia, where the Oceania teams took first place. The 2019 OCE/SEA/JP tournament was set to be held in Japan, but sadly is now canceled following this announcement.
This news surely comes as a downer to fans, but not all for League of Legends followers in the affected regions. Belquin stated that there are still chances for events similar to Rift Rivals to arise and continue to exist.
“In the future we also remain open to other globally integrated events,” Belquin said.