The very nature of multiplayer games since their inception has been, to some degree, competitiveness. As the technology and media advanced to make these all the more possible, some franchises flourished out of the rough, and none more well-recognized than Riot Games’ own League of Legends. It makes sense that there’s been a surge in this movement’s progression and 2017 couldn’t be aptly recognized than as the start of a major landslide in its favor.
For Houstonians, this news was a matter of when. In 2016 the Rockets hired Sebastian Park as their Director of E-sports knowing this is a growing industry with a need to be tapped into after leading team Achron for just over a year. “What really drew me to the Rockets was their ability to say, ‘There are things we know, and things we don’t know. We know the e-sports space is valuable, now let’s take time and really figure it out,'” Park told the Houston Chronicle only a year ago. Now, it seems that ambition is being realized by Park and the Rockets’ officials as the NBA team bought a spot in League of Legend’s championship series for next year.
At this point, the Rockets have no more to say on the matter. However, what Rockets fans and League of Legends fans alike have, respectively, to look forward to is the expansion of the franchise’s reach and the roster said to be released in mid November, as stated by Riot Games. More than a new name with a Houston flair, the news of an e-sports team being headed in such a bold direction spells a new wave of enthusiasm from the locals.
Of course, only time will tell. With an estimated population of 2.3 million and an estimated male population of almost 200,000 between the ages of 15 to 24, the scene’s target demographic, there is likely to be a boom in Houston following the arrival of sure-fire news. Currently, a smaller organization exists for players across the nation: City Champs. With the relative underground success they’ve had in their year of operation gives a good idea of the sort of changes to the current erratic placement of teams and players that the League of Legends audience is familiar with. The City Champs league has Houston, Los Angeles, Seattle and New York City actively participating- a set up not unlike the current Sports system in place for sports organizations like the NBA, MLB, or the NFL. It isn’t a complete simulation of what the The Rockets and NBA teams alike have in store for us, as the qualifiers are simply : Make a team and play against others, but we can learn and watch what this could spell for Houston. For now, we’ll need to wait as patiently as possible for the next NALCS (League of Legends North American Championship) to see what they’ve been holding onto.