Atlanta’s State Farm Arena to host League of Legends World Championship semifinals

A rendering of the outside of the former Philips Arena, which will be christened State Farm Arena. (Credit: Atlanta Hawks)

Combined ShapeCaption
A rendering of the outside of the former Philips Arena, which will be christened State Farm Arena. (Credit: Atlanta Hawks)

It joins a long list of international sporting events coming to Atlanta.

Riot Games announced today that State Farm Arena, home of the Atlanta Hawks, will host the League of Legends (LoL) World Championship semifinals.

The semifinals were originally scheduled to take place at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena but were moved to the U.S. due to COVID-19′s impact on securing multi-entry visas.

Combined ShapeCaption
A general view during the final of League of Legends tournament between Team G2 Esports and Team FunPlus Phoenix, in Paris, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. The biggest e-sports event of the year saw a Chinese team, FunPlus Phoenix, crowned as world champions of the video game League of Legends. Thousands of fans packed a Paris arena for the event, which marked another step forward for the growing esports business. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Credit: AP

A general view during the final of League of Legends tournament between Team G2 Esports and Team FunPlus Phoenix, in Paris, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. The biggest e-sports event of the year saw a Chinese team, FunPlus Phoenix, crowned as world champions of the video game League of Legends. Thousands of fans packed a Paris arena for the event, which marked another step forward for the growing esports business. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Credit: AP

Combined ShapeCaption
A general view during the final of League of Legends tournament between Team G2 Esports and Team FunPlus Phoenix, in Paris, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. The biggest e-sports event of the year saw a Chinese team, FunPlus Phoenix, crowned as world champions of the video game League of Legends. Thousands of fans packed a Paris arena for the event, which marked another step forward for the growing esports business. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

“We are committed to upholding our tradition of a multi-city Worlds tour despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, and look forward to hosting the 2022 Semifinals at the state-of-the-art State Farm Arena in Atlanta,” said Naz Aletaha, Global Head of LoL Esports, Riot Games. “This news is no doubt disappointing to our fans and partners in Canada, and we want to sincerely thank Toronto, Scotiabank Arena, and our community for their understanding. We look forward to bringing a major LoL Esports event there in the future.”

League of Legends is a team-based strategy game in which two teams of five try to destroy the other team’s base. Players choose from over 140 characters, and games last from 20 to 45 minutes when one team takes down the other’s Nexus. The game has attracted over 600 million players in the last decade.

The World Championship is the pinnacle of LoL Esports competition, where top teams compete from 12 regions. At the semifinals, 24 teams from Riot’s 12 professional leagues will participate in a month-long tournament to crown one team victorious. Within regional leagues, teams compete against each other over two seasonal splits to earn regional titles and championship points.

The 2021 World Championship, which was held in Iceland, had more than 73.86 million peak concurrent viewers worldwide with an average minute audience of over 30.6 million.

Play-ins will first be held in Mexico City, followed by the groups and quarterfinals stages of the competition in New York. Finals will be hosted in San Francisco. Dates for each of these stages will be announced later in the summer.

“We are honored that Atlanta now has this incredible opportunity to host the world’s biggest esports event”, said Todd Harris, Atlanta Esports Alliance Chair, in a press release. “We look forward to working closely with Riot Games, our public and private partners, and our local community to create a remarkable experience for all involved.”

The World Championship will join a long list of sports events coming to Atlanta later this decade. In addition to the 2026 men’s World Cup matches, Mercedes-Benz Stadium will host the College Football Playoff national championship game in January 2025, the Super Bowl in February 2028 and college basketball’s men’s Final Four in 2029 or 2031.