Riot’s Oceanic Pro League (OPL) is in serious jeopardy after player bans, contractual wrangling, and other logistical issues have left the league in a state of chaos.
Riot made a significant investment in the region, which includes Australia, New Zealand, and other countries in the South Pacific, for the 2017 season. This included moving the competition to an offline format and significantly increasing player compensation. But this transition has been fraught with difficulty, leaving the future of several teams in question.
One of the league’s teams, Tainted Minds, lost all of its players and coach in a contractual dispute. The players filed a termination notice against the team about three weeks ago due to poor conditions in their new team house, including sub-par internet that made practice impossible.
The organization has since fielded a new roster of players, but are 0-3 since the split. The previous players remain on Riot’s contract database, and have not been paid for all of the weeks they played. Thus far Riot has taken no action against the organization.
This week, Riot punished another team, Chiefs eSports Club, after its players were involved in account sharing during a bootcamp. The team claim this was necessary because Riot failed to provide the accounts for their players in time. Chiefs will now be without four of their players for the next two weeks as they serve bans.
The league’s bottom team, Exile5 is also struggling on multiple fronts, and is currently without an owner. The team’s previous owner Jonathan Salmon told Riot he was “not capable of effectively owning a team in the league to our required standards,” and Riot is currently attempting to find a new owner for the 0-7 side.
The challenger division has not been without its problems either. Of the 40 players in the eight-team league, 19 have received competitive bans of some kind in the last six weeks for offenses ranging from account sharing to boosting to “negative behavior.”
These growing pains have overshadowed what Riot hoped would be a breakout season for the Oceanic region, as Riot continues to try to grow the League of Legends esports scene worldwide.