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AFL and Riot Games Team For League of Origin II

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AFL and RIot Games are taking the League of Origin to Melbourne

Australian sporting body AFL and League of Legends developers Riot Games announce a new partnership to bring a premier stadium tournament to Melbourne, Australia in November this year.

Team Victoria Gets Home Field Advantage

Team Victoria Gets Home Field Advantage

Last year's League of Legends: League of Origin was a fantastic event, seeing players from Australia's OPL gear up to represent their state in League of Legends, assimilating the "State of Origin" formula into League of Legends for a weekend-long All-Star format tournament. Last year the event took place at the ESL Studio in Auburn - this partnership between AFL and League of Legends means League of Origin II will take place in Melbourne.

The AFL and Riot Games will work closely together to build out the resources required to operate together well - this includes building a 'purpose-build esports studio' in Melbourne.

"Esports is one of the most exciting emerging industries to come in and disrupt the traditional sports landscape," said AFL General Manager, Growth, Digital and Audience, Darren Birch in the press release. "Riot are a respected and credible leader in this space, and this event will be a great opportunity to continue on that path. We will bring our expertise and insight to the competition, giving all-star players an opportunity to play with different teams, play in a different tournament structure and in a radically different venue environment."

"The AFL is a world class league, and leads Australian sport in many key areas," said Daniel Ringland, Head of Oceanic Esports for Riot Games. "From fan engagement through to player welfare and development, they’re the gold standard. We aspire to the same levels of excellence for our pro players and fans of League of Legends esports, so a strategic partnership makes absolute sense. The AFL and Riot are culturally aligned, both being firm believers in putting the fan and player experience first. We’re excited to be paving the way for esports fans in Oceania."

With Essendon and Adelaide already owning teams - The Bombers and Legacy respectively - and interest from other clubs strongly rumoured, it's clear the AFL likes what it sees in League of Legends. More details on the tournament will be available in the coming weeks, and it will be worth keeping an eye on. League of Legends: League of Origin was brilliant last year - it should be great again.

One thing worth thinking about - does a purpose-build esports studio in Melbourne mean Riot Games will move the OPL down South? The League of Legends league currently operates out of Pyrmont in NSW, but they can't accommodate spectators in their current space. Could Etihad Stadium - owned by the AFL itself - play host to a Blizzard Arena style esports set-up?