2020 Riot Games
This was the year we navigated esports through COVID.
The most amazing thing about this year was Worlds. All 12 leagues completed. 22 teams to the finals. Only esports event to do that at such scale.

When you really think that in order to pull that off, how bad the people working on it wanted it, you really get a sense of the support esports gets at Riot Games.
Do it again
Almost 10 years to the day, I'm going through the exact same exercise as MLG circa 2010. Scale one portfolio from a single property to five. Back then it was the slow crawl from just Halo..... into Halo, CoD, FGC, Starcraft, and LoL. The one insight about this situation that most greatly impacted me back then, was not the challenge of creating a successful esports for any one title, but making sure that the exponential network effects with a value 5^2 didn't just kill each other. Back then you couldn't control the wills of an established Blizzard, a Riot in its growth spurts of 2010-13, a core community like Halo's (you were responsible for), and also the quickly scaling online competition of CoD. That's a lot of assets Riot now owns outright, and has the benefit of some fairly significant esports experience to leverage against. TFT, Project L, LoR, VALORANT, & LoL.
In January of 2020 we had come off a pretty good two years with League and the World Championship. 2019 kicked ass and 2018 is where we took some punches but ultimately won out. So when trying to figure out what to focus on in 2020, I really wanted VALORANT. The game felt clean, was basically Shadowrun, and I wanted something I could flex my FPS Roots into. Also, after coming off of Mastercard and LV, the second esport would be bigger than the third sponsor. I drafted a barebones memo about what we should be doing and passed it around the org as a thought starter. A lot of the reception was positive and many ideas ended up in the final version of the initial six months plan. Esports let the game shine in a massive beta, then followed up a week later with some guidelines that unlocked the ecosystem, and then pivoted it into a 28 weekend long event series for the summer.

Oh yeah.... during Corona.
We also had TFT knocking on our door.

"Hello, we're a wonderful little game, ripe for an esport. I came a bit before the wedding that was L10, but ultimately am also about a year old with needs from my community."

So that was an exercise of scaling up to a globally integrated competition (during Corona), with regional qualifiers in partnership with regions who were feeling exactly the same as you. March Invitational (as Corona was starting), into a Global Championship (five months into Corona). It ended up adequate, but was also organizationally useful as after getting hit with TFT (which came sequentially first), regions realized how real VALORANT was going to be and got ready.
Finally, there was LoR and Wild Rift.
Subscribe to my blog

Made on
Tilda