onGamers has learned that the third season of The Champions 2014 will potentially not take place. Sources in Korea have stated that the tournament is cancelled due to Riot Games North America wanting to standardize the regions and change the format of the tournament to align closer with the LCS schedule.
This falls in line with a statement made of the official lolesports website where Riot Games’ Nick Allen states:
Looking forward to the future, we’re working closely with all of the regional leagues to align our schedules and build in more time between the regional qualifiers and Worlds. This will help minimize the constraints that were unavoidable this year, provide more practice times for teams, and allows us to providing a transparent and exciting live group draw for fans that commemorates the start of Worlds.
Our sources complement information by a senior executive at OnGameNet’s Chinese partner Keahoarl who stated on a private Chinese forum that the Winter season of The Champions has been cancelled and that OnGameNet will be adapting the LCS format in 2015. [Clarification note: The Senior executive stated LCS format but our sources mean the two-split season that is currently in place with the LPL/LCS]
Additionally, although Keahoarl have retracted their official statement about a chinese invite, sources state that their retraction was due to the fact that the news was not meant to be public yet. Another source close to the situation in Korea stated that Riot Games Headquarters wanted to “make the LCS rules worldwide.”
Different sources dispute this and claim that the decision to cancel OGN Winter has not been fully finalized and that there is a probability of it still happening. Either way, the future of the third season of The Champions looks uncertain as Riot Games looks forward to organize better scheduling of the regional leagues for the 2015 season. Additional information is likely to surface after the 2014 World Championships.
onGamers has reached out to OnGameNet and Riot Games for comment about this situation.
Riot Games' Nick Allen has responded to this article on a statement on Reddit:
Hey guys, a few things from our side:
- Riot HQ isn't mandating any changes in KR, or any other region. We advise on some matters, but Riot Korea is working in conjunction with Kespa and OGN to decide the future of LoL esports in Korea.
- The Riot KR team always keeps the best interests of the KR esports ecosystem in mind. Ecosystem health is their top priority.
- Formats will look different from region to region--we aren't mandating any formats. And like the article mentions, we are looking to align global schedules for better timing around international events.
- Nothing has been finalized regarding the 2015 season in KR, and you can expect more information around that after the World Championship.
Image credits: OnGameNet.
This article has been edited for clarity.