League of Legends is the focus of what Riot Games is calling “the first professional eSports league in Oceania”.
Anyway, Riot Games Australia wrote to let us know that the Oceania Pro League (OPL) kicks off today, with eight teams to battle it out in weekly matches over a seven-week split. The top five teams will remain in the league with the bottom three facing relegation.
The total prize pool is $64,000, with $32,000 devoted to each split. All players will also receive a $100 match fee per game.
The Split 1 Champion of the OPL will travel to Turkey to represent Oceania in the International Wildcard Invitational, with a chance at earning a place in the Mid-Season Invitational against the best teams from leagues in North America, Europe, China, Korea and Taiwan.
The champion of Split 2, running from May to August, will represent Oceania in the Wildcard Qualifier for a place at the World Championships.
“Our ultimate goal is to see an Oceanic team win at Worlds,” said Riot Games Oceania eSports co-ordinator Ben de Rider.
“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.”
Split 1 begins today. Tune in to all the action live on Twitch; the schedule is below, and all times are in AEDT.
Round 01: Thursday, February 5
6:00PM – Chiefs vs Legacy
7:00PM – 4Not vs Legacy
8:00PM – Chiefs vs Sudden Fear
9:00PM – Sudden Fear vs 4Not
Round 02: Monday, February 9
6:00PM – Avant Garde vs Dire Wolves
7:00PM – Rich Gang vs Avant Garde
8:00PM – Dire Wolves vs Team Immunity
9:00PM – Team Immunity vs Rich Gang
I don’t really know the difference between “professional eSports” and competing in regular local tournaments, but I’m sure it’s good news for the local eSports scene to have a major player willing to invest in local talent.
Edit: Oh, here’s an infographic Riot sent along.