League of Legends will not feature during the next season of IEM events.
According to a Reddit post by the IEM team, the tournament organizers decided to not schedule IEM events around Riot’s LCS calendar. The reasons included the offseason often being used for player trades and movement or getting in the way of teams and players wishing to take time off for a vacation.
The team further wrote that Riot decided to not halt the season in order to accommodate IEM Katowice next year based on a discussion between the two parties, which means next year’s event will mark the first since 2011 in which League of Legends will not be played at IEM, and the game’s future in the tournament remains bleak.
“As I write this, I am not sure if we will or will not run LoL events in IEM in the future,” the note reads. “Should scheduling events around LCS become easier, I would certainly like us to. ESL will continue to support LoL overall with national championship events around the world.”
League of Legends’ participation at IEM events has become increasingly unsatisfactory in the last year. The timing of events often coincides with the offseason — or directly in the middle of the professional season — which has led many invited teams to back out of events because of either roster construction or a desire to focus on their domestic circuits. No North American team attended IEM Katowice in March, and multiple teams backed out of IEM Oakland in November.
At IEM Oakland, ESL’s CEO Ralf Reichert told Slingshot: “We have a solid plan for next year to improve that situation — nothing we can really announce right now — but I am very optimistic that there is a right place for IEM in the League of Legends ecosystem.”