Forgot password
Enter the email address you used when you joined and we'll send you instructions to reset your password.
If you used Apple or Google to create your account, this process will create a password for your existing account.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Reset password instructions sent. If you have an account with us, you will receive an email within a few minutes.
Something went wrong. Try again or contact support if the problem persists.
Karmine Corp League of Legends fans with flags and scarves in the LEC Studio in 2024
Photo by Wojciech Wandzel via Riot Games

Karmine Corp unveils 3,000-seat esports stadium, sparking criticism of Riot’s ‘plastic seat arena’

Venue size has always been a point of discussion in LoL esports, and KCorp just raised the bar.

Karmine Corp has introduced its new gaming and esports home, Les Arènes, directly in the heart of the Évry-Courcouronnes section of Paris, France. The 3000-seat venue will serve as the org’s base of operation for in-house events, tournaments, and friendly matches across all of its esports teams. 

Recommended Videos

Les Arènes has stood in Paris for years, and it is a publicly owned venue operated by the French government. To be clear, it is not a newly constructed arena that Karmine Corp specifically built. The franchise simply now owns the right to host its events there. 

Karmine Corp has teams competing in four esports: League of Legends, VALORANT, Rocket League and Teamfight Tactics. It’s fair to say that events, showmatches, and viewing parties will be held at Les Arènes for each of those competitions at some point in the organization’s future. 

Fan reaction to the Karmine Corp arena has been largely positive, although the majority of League fans on the game’s official subreddit have spun the announcement back into Riot’s corner, claiming that Karmine Corp’s venue puts the LEC studio to shame. 

Riot should make a deal with KC to host the Worlds group stage at that venue,” one League fan commented on Reddit. “Still makes me mad that Riot could sell out a 15k stadium for [the] group stage, especially if it’s as hype as MSI was but they choose to do it in a 200 spot LEC studio. I’ve literally seen some of my local small LAN parties have more than 200 people attend. Biggest fumble I’ve ever seen from Riot.”

Another fan chimed in, calling Riot’s LEC studio a “150 plastic seat arena.”

Riot has often held the Worlds and MSI play-in stages in the LEC studio in Berlin whenever an international tournament blows through Europe. And while having domestic tournaments and regular season matches in those studios is serviceable, the level of importance rises when international teams come to town.

Having big-name stars play in front of a crowd of only a few hundred is not only a poor look for an esport that’s technically back on the rise viewership-wise, but it’s also a missed opportunity for Riot to draw upon local fan engagement. Fans will almost always show up in person to international events—far more so than they would for a standard LEC or LCS matchday—so holding those global games in a standard venue simply feels out of place most times. 

A crowd cheers at the LEC Championship as two League of Legends teams go head-to-head on stage.
The quaintness of the LEC studio is nice for regular season games, but can we do better? Photo via Riot Games

In the case of certain domestic LoL leagues, there is likely some concern from Riot if selling out a higher-seat-total venue is even possible to do on a consistent basis. In the case of the North American LCS, for example, ticket sale numbers are usually quite low, and crowd shots during broadcasts are often sparse.

The same can occasionally be said for the LEC, although at a much less dramatic clip, as it’s one of the more relatively bubbly domestic leagues. However, even with the relative success of the premiere European competition in mind, expanding the home venue with the goal of putting several hundred more people in the seats each week is a prospect that Riot is likely approaching temperamentally. 

“That’s hilarious Riot even has third parties to pay for and host arenas for their events now,” another commenter said. “How long until LEC games are literally played in the KC arena? Riot is a shell of its former self.”

There is a debate to be had that the interest and loyalty of Karmine Corp diehards are stronger than those of the biggest fans of the LEC. While it would be a circular argument to say that KCorp is the “bigger” of the two, considering they play in the league, it’s not too outlandish to say they’re the biggest draw in the European LoL scene right now. This past LEC Spring Split, two of the top three most-watched matches of the split were regular season games featuring KCorp, according to esports viewership data site Esports Charts

When the plans for Les Arènes were first announced late last year, fans pointed toward the long-term effects of the venue. Many predicted that if Les Arènes could consistently draw fans of a team instead of a league, similarly to traditional sports, it would serve as a major step in legitimizing esports and potentially even inspire other organizations around the world to follow suit. 

Dot Esports is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Michael Kelly
Michael Kelly
Staff Writer covering World of Warcraft and League of Legends, among others. Mike's been with Dot since 2020, and has been covering esports since 2018.