TL;DR: We are changing the esports structure for Southeast Asia (SEA) with the goals of improving the competitive landscape and unlocking more opportunities for SEA teams. We will be retiring the GPL after Spring 2018. Moving forward the SEA Tour will be the tournament series that qualifies Southeast Asia for global events. More tournaments will be opened up to promote broader participation and competitive play across the region.
From the beginning, we had the dream of turning League of Legends into a sport that would provide entertainment in the form of competition and fandom, with full-time players, teams, stadiums, broadcasts, and sponsors. This led to the creation of the Garena Premier League (GPL) in 2012 – the first professional league for League of Legends globally.
We are honored that the GPL has accomplished achievements that made fans throughout the region proud, from winning the Season 2 World Championship, to spinning off additional competitive leagues including the LMS in 2014, and most recently the Vietnam Championship Series in 2018.
League-based to Cup-based esports Structure
Qualification to global events namely Mid-Season Invitational (MSI), Rift Rivals (RR), World Championship (Worlds) and All-Star Events (ASE), will transition from the previous national league-based format to a series of cup tournaments known as SEA Tour.
Under the league-based structure, tournaments typically last three to four months per season, which crowds out opportunities for pros to compete and earn prizes in other tournaments. At the same time, third-party organizers are not able to secure the top teams in the region and often saw conflict with the broadcast and marketing of the existing leagues. To align the interest of all parties, we will be condensing global events qualification tournaments into a series of short tournaments lasting approximately one month each, consisting of multiple stages of qualification and playoffs. This arrangement unlocks time and opportunities for more tournaments to surface at both the local and regional level, creating a stronger competitive ecosystem.
While there may be multiple tournaments within SEA Tour, two tournaments will be designated as the final qualification tournament that qualifies teams directly into global events, namely SEA Tour Spring Championship for MSI and RR, and SEA Tour Summer Championship for Worlds. Tournaments on the path to global events, including season championships and potential tournaments that seed into the season championships, will be branded under SEA Tour. Tournaments that do not have a consequence for global events will be defined as Open Tournaments.
Eligibility for Open Tournaments
Under previous regulations, pros competing in the highest tier of local competitions (such as Thailand Pro League (TPL), Singapore Legends Series (SLS), League of Legends Championship Malaysia (LCM), Pro Gaming Series (PGS) and League of Legends Garuda Series (LGS) were ineligible to compete in events outside of the professional ecosystem. This led to strain on our pro ecosystems due to large break periods between competitive seasons, limited regional exposure, and missed opportunities for additional prize money. In the spirit of growing the competitiveness and ecosystem development of the region, we are opening up the eligibility policy and allowing pros to compete in Open Tournaments, subject to conditions that will be laid out in the SEA Tour 2018 ruleset.
SEA Tour Summer Championship: Conquerors Manila 2018
2018 will be a year of transition, and we will be starting off with the one tournament that will be designated as the SEA Tour Summer Championship 2018 to select the representative of Southeast Asia to Worlds 2018.
The upcoming competitive calendar will also host a range of tournaments which are independent of global events. These events will provide further opportunities for teams to compete and earn prizes. More of such events will be announced throughout 2018.
Music X Esports: Hyperplay 2018
While the SEA Tour unites our region for the global stage at International Events, there is also an opportunity to promote inter-regional, national competition which brings a different flavor of excitement and charm. This August, Hyperplay, the first ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Esports and Music Festival will see League of Legends bringing together teams from 10 countries (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, Brunei, Myanmar) to compete for regional glory in the Singapore Indoor Stadium, sharing the stage with four electrifying concerts.
Stay tuned for the launch of Hyperplay Qualifiers in your region in April!
Future for Southeast Asia Esports
Creating an ecosystem where pros and teams have the ability to grow competitively and sustainably is our long term vision. As such, we are continuously evaluating our esports structure and will continue to make refinements to the structure that brings us closer to our goal. Details for SEA Tour 2019 will be announced towards the end of Season 2018. In the meantime, we will be back on a regular basis to announce more tournaments for players and fans to be excited about.