Beginning at 07:00 GMT on Saturday morning, over 140 cinemas across Europe took part in the broadcast of the League of Legends World Finals live via satellite from Korea, the biggest event on the global esports calendar. The fanatical army of fans set their alarms to get out of their warm beds on a cold Autumn morning to cheer on Europe’s own Fnatic against China’s Invictus Gaming. In London, the Vue Westfield White City sold out three screens, in Denmark the Nordisk Copenhagen welcomed over 1,000 fans, and there were sell-outs from Seville in Spain to Manchester in the UK, and from Hamburg in Germany, to Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
The event was brought to cinemas by Riot Games in partnership with National Amusements and Piece of Magic Entertainment. Riot have a long-standing relationship with cinemas bringing their season finals to the big screen since 2014, however Saturday’s event was the widest and most successful to date. The expansion has been possible by partnering with National Amusements and Piece of Magic Entertainment broadcasting via satellite to deliver an unrivalled on screen picture, and the opportunity for the wider League of Legends community to experience it together with other fans. Every customer received a limited edition cup and an allocation of Thundersticks (inflatable batons) ensuring the atmosphere in each and every cinema was similar to being at the live event.
The event represents a new growth area for cinemas following the establishment of regular live broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera, André Rieu, Bolshoi Ballet, National Theatre, as well as occasional musicals and rock concerts. Esports offers exhibitors the chance to engage a younger demographic in to “Event Cinema” and to broadcast global events during off peak periods.
National Amusements and Piece of Magic Entertainment are in discussion with Riot Games about broadcasting 4 further events in 2019, and to widen the footprint in to North and South America, and Asia.