League of Legends European league in French club sights

They are impossible to miss. The real stars of this Paris Games Week are the professional esports players who are treated like rock stars on stage. It must be said that the game developers did not avoid the scenery Welcome to : special effects, big screens and merchandise in team colors make the show spectacular.

On Saturday, November 3rd and Sunday, November 4th, two semi-finals of the League of Legends French Cup will be played live in front of thousands of video game fans gathered at Paris Expo, Porte de Versailles. It is no coincidence that this MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) is highlighted this year. As of 2019, an entire competitive ecosystem has been established and French clubs are now showing themselves on the European stage.

“Although it’s a first for me to play on stage with the public, to know the expectations of the fans, I will approach it like any competition. I’m sure the feeling is special.”, says Jules “Hunter” Bourgeois. At 23 years old, he is one of the best League of Legends (LoL) players in France. The goal of the game? Destroy the opposing base in a 25-40 minute skirmish between two teams of five players.

Huntera, which deals with Carmine Corp (KCorp), the most prominent team in the French league (LFL), will play the semifinals of the French Cup on Saturday against LDLC OL, the esports team of Olympique Lyonnais. “For us, the Coupe de France is a bit like the last dance of the season. This allows the 2nd and 3rd division teams to face the first national division LFL teams. The format is pretty cool. Of course, our goal is to win.” An opportunity to make a name for professional teams in the middle of the end-of-season transfer window and move a few foot forward.

Wearing a KCorp T-shirt, 19-year-old Elias came from Dijon with his friends to attend the event. “It’s my first time coming to Paris Games Week, and I’m more interested in the esports part than anything else. I really got into League of Legends during the lockout and wanted to see the players in person.” After the Covid-19 crisis, when other competitions were suspended, the attendance of the game accelerated.

According to American publisher Riot Games, League of Legends was the most watched sports game in 2021 with more than 664 million hours watched and 180 million active players. The level of play in France also experienced a leap forward. “France has an interesting position on the European scene. The league is higher than Germany or Spain” “Hantera” explains, leaving to train at the UCAM Esports Club in Spain.

But this weekend, during the Coupe de France, there is no qualification problem in sight. This is, above all, an honorary championship. Because the European scene, the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) has been run by a franchise system since 2019. To get it, you need to get a place in the club. Karmine Corp has not been successful this summer due to its good results since its launch in 2020 (2021 LFL win).

French broadcaster Kameto, co-founder (along with entrepreneur Amine Mekri, nicknamed Prime) and CEO of French structure Karmine Corp, thus tearfully announced on October 26 in a YouTube video that he is refusing to enter the LEC for 2023. lack of consent.

Because playing on the European stage is a financial issue, and the approval of Riot Games, the game developer and tournament organizer, remains an important component. “For us, the goal is to join the LEC, which is the biggest prestige. It didn’t work this year, but we will go there next year. You have to train for many hours, be patient, hardworking and competitive.” adds, confidently, “Huntera”.

Only one French team managed to join the European league, LEC, from 2019: Vitality. Founded in 2013, this esports club is the most important French representative on the international scene and is considered one of the three most powerful structures in Europe, along with G2 and Fnatic. The team employs one hundred people, including about forty players, and its annual budget exceeds 10 million euros. With its display stand at the Paris Games Week, the sector’s French flagship is taking the club’s logo in the form of a bee everywhere on fans, on shirts, jackets and caps.

The live sports stand at Paris Games Week, November 1, 2022. (BENOIT DURAND / HANS LUCAS)

“The Europa League is still superior to the LFL”, Louis Victor “Mephisto” Legendre is the coach of the team’s first League of Legends team. “The LEC consists of eight weeks of the regular season, where you have to work hard not to lose. Then the goal is to beat our opponents to get a good place in the playoffs and then go to the finals. It’s very demanding, you have to build a good understanding and above all, a personality. In one week, every the thing may be smoke: it is long and tense.’ Describes a French coach.

“On the one hand, the progress comes from Riot, which has a studio and production worthy of certain traditional sports. The teams we are a part of have also developed a lot: they have special offices, a nutritionist, a personal trainer and a state. In 2015, state-of-the-art equipment dedicated to a single team It would be a bit of a crazy dream. This is our reality today.”Adds Anne Banschbach, Team Vitality’s Head of Esports.

However, Mephisto is consistent with the progression of French clubs in Europe: “I don’t know if we can really say that France has invested in European sports. Vitality strives to have a competitive, international identity in the LEC, and the academy in the LFL is more national to develop talent.”. If the goal of European progress is real, the goal is firstBe among the best teams in the two circuits Vitality competes in: LFL and LEC. VSFor the Vitality.bee Academy, which has French and international players in its ranks, Sunday is the semi-final of the French Cup.

The goal for Mephisto and the stable’s core team is now to qualify for the Worlds, the discipline Worlds, by placing among the top three clubs in Europe. The European league could see its format evolve enough to redistribute the cards in the Old Continent next season. “And at this level there is still mileage, because Asian teams dominate the championship.” The French league will resume in January.

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