League of Legends is coming to Madison Square Garden
The finals for League Championship Series will play out at Madison Square Garden the weekend of Aug. 22, the game's developer, Riot Games, announced earlier today. "The Garden" has only hosted one esports event in the past—ESL One New York last year—but it was in the Madison Square Garden Theatre, not the main stadium. Riot is partnering with Tribeca Games, a part of the organization that hosts the Tribeca Film Festival, to handle the event.
The 20,000 seat stadium has a history stretching back to 1879. Well-known in modern time for being the home of the Knicks and Rangers, MSG has hosted numerous NBA, NHL, and WNBA finals. It's also one of the busiest music and event venues in the world. It has also hosted NFL Drafts, political conventions, boxing matches, circuses, the Grammys, bull riding competitions—basically everything under the sun except for esports.
For esports fans, though, this kind of venue has been a long time coming, and represents one of the first real trips esports has made to the northeastern United States. The LCS operates out of southern California, and recently traveled to Florida for the Mid-Season Invitational, but has never been close to an event in New York.
A finals event at Madison Square Garden, then, makes a statement to North American fans of League of Legends. The company's vow to give all fans a shot at attending a live event is slowly becoming realized.
The European LCS finals will, take place in Stockholm at the Hovet Arena. Both will take place the weekend of Aug. 22.
Photo via Daniel/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)