In an official announcement, Riot Games made an update to their North American community competition guidelines. These changes are mainly targeting the amateur and collegiate League of Legends scenes, but make some pretty hefty changes. As is to be expected, the overall initial response to the changes has been pretty negative, and rightly so. Riot Games has done little to support the collegiate scene across North America. And with these latest changes, it’ll be even harder for colleges to run competitions.
Changes to the collegiate scene: Three things affect the future of the North American collegiate scene: yearly prize, entry fee limitations, and limitations to event partners and sponsors. And according to the policies outlined by Riot, the changes being made to these areas are anything but helpful.
Prize pools: The first affects yearly prizes, with the limit being placed at $10,000 across all events organized for the calendar year. According to Riot: “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).” But this is the least-worrying update.
Entry fees: A troubling change is that a limit has been placed on entry fees, which is $20 maximum, which makes things difficult for larger-scale tournaments. From Riot: “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.”
Sponsors: Another problem comes on the topic of sponsors. From Riot: “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).” Naming rights is a big business in North america, which makes this a significant blow to grassroots events hosted across the country. Additionally, this makes a long list of businesses that can no longer sponsor collegiate competitions. Here is a list of banned topics and brands:
- 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
This leaves very few organizations open to sponsoring local events. Riot is really cracking down hard on making the collegiate scene difficult to flourish and grow like the professional scene.