Esports News UK caught up with Riot UK's Head of Esports Mo Fadl at the new Red Bull Gaming Sphere in London, to discuss his plans for the future of UK League of Legends.
Riot is launching a brand new tournament for the UK and Ireland known as Forge of Champions. This cup tournament will get underway this summer with eight pro teams and an open split.
"Now we're here in the UK, Riot has big plans with the teams and the community to change the whole market, the whole scene," Mo Fadl told Esports News UK.
"We're moving away from what we have for this second split, as we're going to rebrand completely. We're looking at restarting a league down the road.
"For this we're looking at a new tournament: we call it the Forge of Champions.
"This tournament will be a new repetitive brand, we can use in maybe off-seasons down the road. It will be a high-class triple-A event which we may even use for other opportunities.
"The whole concept is to allow teams to be forged into champions. We have the pros and we have some... I don't want to spoil too much! This is a teaser today. But more info will follow. It will be a game changer for the UK."
Watch the video interview with Mo Fadl above
ESL UK and UK Masters depart as LVP steps in
With Mo saying Riot is 'moving away' from what it has in the spring split - the ESL Premiership - does this mean no more ESL Prems or UK Masters tournaments in the future? Why?
"We're moving away [from ESL and UK Masters]," Mo explains. "We need a fresh start. We've worked with ESL for many many years, and we're really grateful and thankful for what they did - an amazing job.
"But now with us having a Riot office in the UK, we're looking to start from zero, completely from scratch, to reinvent ourselves. For this we brought a new partner to the UK - LVP."
LVP is the Spanish League of Legends tournament which is the most popular regional league in Europe. This explains why Mo Fadl recently said he believes the UK League of Legends scene can become as popular as the LVP.
"Our vision for the next year is we will be bigger than what [the LVP] have currently and I truly believe we will be the biggest esports scene within Europe," Mo added.
"I don't like to point fingers. Riot has to step up. The UK scene was underperforming and underdelivering, not because of the teams or the league, but because the ecosystem wasn't there. There was no industry there.
"Naturally now with Riot being onside and bringing a lot of support from government relations and strong partners we're bringing from overseas more or less, to the UK. We will change the UK."
'We will change the UK - and the teams get our vision'
We're having an awesome time at the #redbullgamingsphere today talking with our wonderful UK League #esports teams! @exceL @DiabolusEsports @MnMGamingUK @RaiseYourGovs @HyperionAgency @EnclaveGamingUK @MisfitsGG @WindandRaingg we 💖 you guys pic.twitter.com/kHPdaEplAM
— Riot Games UK (@uk_riot) March 21, 2018
Mo Fadl joined Riot UK late last year, and has been passionate about reaching out to the community. At the new Red Bull Gaming Sphere in London on Wednesday, he sat down with UK League of Legends teams to discuss plans and get their feedback.
"We met with all the UK team owners today, as we talked about split one (of 2018, the ESL LoL Prem), the learnings and feedback from the teams - good and bad - and we talked about the vision.
"The teams got our vision and input, and the response was very strong and positive."
'2019 will be a complete game-changer for the UK'
While this announcement teaser is exciting, Mo said there's more coming in the future, and that the scene should look out for 2019 in particular.
"In the next few weeks you'll see some very big announcements," he said. "And then especially down the road with the 2019 league, that will be a complete game changer for the UK."
On the new Red Bull Gaming Sphere, Mo added: "Red Bull has been a strong partner for many years with us. It's a very strong message, a coincidence - Riot comes to London, the Gaming Sphere opens, everything happens at the right time it seems.
"This will be one of our hotspots, our hubs, to create communities within London, within the UK, and we strongly align with the vision Red Bull has around creating a very strong community in London."
Mo concluded: "For the players at home, get your friends together, you may have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity coming along very soon.
"So train your skills and get ready."