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Riot Games shuts Sydney office and scraps OPL esports league

Riot Games shuts Sydney office and scraps OPL esports league

October 7, 2020 | By Chris Kerr

League of Legends maker Riot has closed its office its Sydney, Australia, after its esports efforts in the region struggled to take flight.

Riot's managing director of North America & Oceania, Malte Wagener, and global esports director of operations, Tom Martell, explained the company had hoped to build the first professional esports league in the region with the formation of the Oceanic Pro League (OPL), but said that after five years the project has become unsustainable. 

"At Riot Games, we want to build competitive and sustainable leagues that drive commercial growth and fan engagement and that support professional play as a full-time career," reads a blog post

"Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of our teams and players, the OPL has not met our goals for the league, and we do not believe that the market is currently able to support the league in its current form. So today we are announcing the dissolution of the OPL and the closure of Riot’s Sydney office, as it primarily focused on operating the league." 

It's unclear how many people will be affected by the closure of Riot Sydney, or whether Riot intends to relocate workers or make layoffs. 

The company, however, said the closure won't spell the end for esports in Oceania. Moving forward, the region will be added to the competitive territory for the League of Legends Championship Series, which currently covers the United States and Canada, to "open up new opportunities in North America for top OPL players."

It also intends to hold qualifying tournaments in Oceania for both the Mid-Season Invitational and World Championships in 2021, ensuring League of Legends teams in the region can continue participating at global events.

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