Oceanic players looking to break into the ever-growing eSports scene for League of Legends will be happy to hear that Riot has announced the very first ever-professional eSports league is coming to Oceania, titled OPL.
OPL will feature a weekly league that sees eight teams battle it out over the course of a 7-week split. Those making it into the top five will remain in the league with the bottom three facing relegation.
Riot isn't wasting any time though, with the very first match beginning tonight. Former champion team Legacy will be opening the season against Chiefs, the team that they dethroned in the Winter Championship last year.
Now, here's the important part. OPL teams will be battling for a share of $64,000 (split $32,000 for first and second), and players will also receive a 'match fee' of $100 for every game they play (a total of $56,000 supporting Oceanic teams per split).
“We have some amazing talent in this region and they are only going to get better in a professional league,” explains Daniel Ringland, esports manager, Riot Games Oceania.
“Our ultimate goal is to see an Oceanic team win at Worlds,” adds Ben de Rider, esports Co-ordinator, Riot Games Oceania. “We’re not on the same level as some of the larger regions yet, but you should never underestimate a bunch of Aussies and Kiwis.”
The Split 1 Champion of the OPL will be heading to Turkey to represent Oceania in the International Wildcard Invitational. Victory in Istanbul would secure them a place in the Mid-Season Invitational against the best teams from leagues in North America (NA LCS), Europe (EU LCS), China (LPL), Korea (LCK), and Taiwan (LMS). The champion of Split 2, running from May to August, will be representing Oceania in the Wildcard Qualifier for a place at the World Championships.
OPL matches for Split 1 will be broadcast live on Mondays and Thursdays from 6pm AEDT, with the first round starting tonight on Twitch
. A handy infographic can also be found here