“League of Legends Season 3 Finals” by  (CC BY 2.0)

League of Legends is quickly becoming one of the most heavily watched sports in the world. With 43 million viewers in 2016’s World Tournament, Riot Games is expecting even bigger numbers than last year, and for good reason. While the stakes are always high at Worlds, the stakes seem to be even higher this year for a few key reasons.

The Prize Pool

Last year, Riot Games gave out approximately $5,000,000 in prize money during the World Tournament, and Riot Games could easily match if not exceed that number. A bigger prize shouldn’t come as a surprise, with big-name companies like Mercedes Benz, Logitech G, and Intel vying for sponsorships, Riot Games will certainly have plenty of money flowing in during the event.

Riot Games also raises money by offering a championship skin every year based on a hero that heavily influenced the season. This year that champion is Ashe, and as always 25% of the profits from that skin will go directly into the pool for the tournament. Ashe is a good choice, both because she was influential in the season and because she is typically one of the first heroes any player gets when they start playing.

Fresh Meat on the Global Stage

There is some new blood coming to Worlds in 2017, and that makes the stakes higher for those fresh teams and the old contenders alike. Australia finally has stake on the world stage with the team LG Dire Wolves making their way to the global tournament for the first time. The Dire Wolves, while obviously very skilled, faces some stiff competition. In the B Group, Dire Wolves will face teams with a lot of experience like Cloud 9 and Brazil’s Team oNe. Team oNe is significant because they became champions in the Brazil circuit in their first season. This will be the fiercest competition any Australian team has ever faced.

Stakes are high for frequent contenders at Worlds as well. One particular focus will be on Team Solomid, and particularly the performance of Doublelift, the team’s AD carry. After an embarrassing loss at the 2016 Worlds, Doublelift decided to take a break from the game and focus on streaming. But after seeing TSM fumble in his absence, he decided to return to the league and now the team is heading to Worlds after winning the NA Finals. With a return to the global stage, Doublelift has a lot to prove to himself and his fans.

Higher stakes for the teams also means higher stakes for betters around the world. As most games betting guides will tell you, there are a lot of factors to consider when placing bets on a team. This season has seen a lot of shakeups and shifts in dynamics, which makes it all the more challenging (and exciting) for betters to place their money in the right pools.

“Competição de League Of Legend em São Paulo com cerca de 3mil torcedores #CBLOL” by Milton Jung (CC BY 2.0)

The 2017 World Championship started on September 23rd, and runs through October. With so much money at stake and so many factors at play, it is likely to be one of the most exciting finales to date.