E-sport tournaments the League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational and the Valorant Champions Tour Masters will take place in the Laugardalshöll indoor sporting arena in May. Visit Iceland helped facilitate the event’s organisation and hopes that it will be good for local tourism. Athletes are unhappy with the arena closing for practice for several weeks.
This will Riot Games’ second in-person competitive event since the pandemic began as last year, the League of Legends Mid-season Invitational was cancelled due to the pandemic. In an interview with the Washington Post, Riot Games representatives state that Iceland’s methods of dealing with the global pandemic were a significant factor in choosing Iceland as the location. Around 400 people will come to Iceland for the tournaments, Visit Iceland states. Contestants and staff will follow infection prevention regulations to the letter and quarantine before the start of the tournament. Contestants will also be tested regularly during the event and there won’t be an in-person audience.
The LOL Mid-season Invitational starts on May 6 and the final is May 23. The following day marks the beginning of the Valorant Champions Tour, ending on May 30th. Visit Iceland and The Icelandic E-Sports Association are happy with the event, hoping that it will bring revenue as well as marketing opportunities for Iceland’s tourism and even be the first of many international e-sports events. Visit Iceland assisted Riot Games in communicating with the city of Reykjavík and other domestic service providers. “it’s clear that this is an immense opportunity to introduce Reykjavík as a destination for foreign tourists.”Not as thrilled are Icelandic athletes working towards the Olympics. In a Facebook post, Olympian javelin thrower Ásdís Hjálmsdóttir Annerud called closing the arena for practices for the duration of the tournament a sign of grave disrespect towards track-and-field athletes.
League of Legends is one of the world’s most popular video game and tournaments attract large audiences. Visit Iceland representative Karl Guðmundsson stated that Reykjavík was one of the 15 cities vying for the opportunity of hosting the event. Visit Iceland also states that this is the foundation for attracting more e-sport events in the future and a unique opportunity for Iceland to create connections with leading individuals within the industry.