League of Legends esports’ remote return shows the industry’s resilience

100 Thieves raised the 2021 LCS Championship trophy after defeating Team Liquid in a three-game sweep. (Photo by Tina Jo/Riot Games via ESPAT)

League of Legends esports fans are finally getting a much-anticipated return to competition after a record-breaking 2021 season. The League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) and League of Legends European Championship (LEC) will start their first week of professional play for the 2022 Spring split on Friday.

This season comes after the 2021 Worlds Championship drew in around 73 million viewers from across the world for an epic five-game clash between EDward Gaming and DAMWON KIA. Despite those impressive numbers, no fans were able to see the games in person due to COVID-19 concerns.

This year seems to be no different. Many fans of the LEC were disappointed when the league announced on January 6th that the 2022 Spring split would begin remotely due to another drastic rise of COVID cases in the region. LCS fans saw similar news after the league announced on January 7th that the 2022 Lock-In Tournament would be fully remote.

The esports industry, and the world as a whole, has suffered greatly from two years of the pandemic. As the LEC and LCS take these cautious measures to limit the spread of COVID, it should be noted that the esports industry, particularly League of Legends pro leagues, has been able to not only withstand limitations to in-person events, but also thrive in ways never seen before.

As seen previously, League had its biggest events in the esport’s history happen during the pandemic. The world has been forced to adapt to the ever-changing challenges that the pandemic has thrown in its face. The esports industry has been uniquely suited to handle such a task.

Aside from the fact that these video games can be played across countries, esports jobs often have the option to go remote. In fact, on the popular job-searching website Hitmarker, remote jobs made up just over 15% of all openings in 2019. With many workers already being used to working outside of an office, the transition to a fully-remote job might have been easier compared to other industries.

As the LEC and LCS prepare for a split full of star-studded teams and amazing storylines, fans will have to wait before they can root for their teams in the stadium crowd. Until then, the esports industry will continue to do what it has done well for the last two years.

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