**TL;DR: Starting next year all OPL matches will be played at the Riot Games Oceania studio in Sydney, we’re increasing the pro player payments per match and introducing a co-payment model to give clubs access to more funding for things like gaming houses and coaches. To fund that, we had to scale down our Grand Final presence.**
Hello Esports Fans!
The Riot Oceania team has been preparing for the 2017 season of the OPL and I want to give you all a preview of some upcoming changes to the league. I’m also going to share with you some of the philosophies that have gone into those decisions.
Over the past couple of years we have focused our attention on building the OPL into a stable league and we think we are in a good place with room for growth.
The major component of next year’s strategy is all about you, the OPL fans. We believe that fandom is born from emotionally connecting viewers and players and this is where we see the biggest opportunity. In the past, regular season games have been played online by the OPL players from their homes, which didn’t allow for all of the emotional moments and post-game comments to shine through from the pro players.
So starting next year we will be hosting all of the OPL games from our Studio here in Sydney.
We also recognise that Sydney is an expensive place to live (or to travel to during “game day”) and overall the management of clubs is becoming more expensive. While our long term vision is for clubs to be financially independent thanks to the support of sponsors and other revenue streams (merchandising, membership…), in the short term, to boost the growth of the ecosystem, we are going to increase the minimum guaranteed pro player payments and introduce a club co-payment model to give clubs access to more funding for things like gaming houses and coaches.
As you can imagine this will all come with an increase in costs, therefore we made the hard decision to scale down the size of our Grand Final . As part of our vision to create strong clubs supported by legions of passionate fans, we think it makes more sense to invest our resources improving the week-to-week experience, rather than over investing in a single event at the end of the season.
We’re throwing our support behind the OPL clubs. But they need YOUR support as well. The best thing you can do for the OPL and your club is support them. Watch their games, engage with their content, bring your friends, argue with your mate who supports ‘that other club’. Get involved.
Q: Will you have live audience at the studio in Sydney?
A: Initially there will not be a live studio audience for the games. This is because we’re focusing on transitioning the league to having players on-site for 20 weeks of the regular season and finals. It’s definitely something that we will continually evaluate in the future.
Q: Is the ‘stadium’ Grand Final “gone” for good or will you bring it back in 2018/2019?
A: A ‘stadium’ Grand Final is still something we want to have because it creates lasting memories fans hold forever so it’s not gone forever. We’ll announce plans for the Split 2 Grand Final next year.
Q: What changes are being made to OPL player compensation?
A: We’re increasing the minimum guaranteed pro player payments and introducing a co-payment scheme to give clubs access to more funding for things like gaming houses and support staff. The Summoner Icon revenue sharing with the clubs will remain the same (50%), but we won’t be introducing an additional minimum guarantee outside of the co-payment system**